Apple Wins ITC Motorola Patent Suit

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Posted 4 years ago

Apple Wins ITC Motorola Patent SuitWith bad news expected from the latest figures announcement today, and analysts predicting a first profit slide in a decade, Apple could do with something to cheer about. Fortunately, a little moment of satisfaction came yesterday thanks to a ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in relation to Cupertino’s long-standing battle with Google-owned Motorola.

In a case that began back in November 2010, when Motorola appealed to the ITC to have Apple iPhone 4 imports banned over alleged infringement of several patents, the ITC yesterday sided with Apple, finding no violation on their part, thus terminating the investigation.

Although it has never reached the heights of the Apple vs. Samsung drama, the fact that Google purchased Motorola during the three-year dispute added some spice to this case, pitting the two archrivals against each other. The news of the verdict in this patent dispute was reported by Bloomberg and the ruling (PDF) revealed that Apple was not violating Patent No. 6,246,842 – a “sensor controlled user interface for portable communication device” – closing the case on the last of six patents aimed at Apple by Motorola.

The International Trade Commission has found itself overworked these last few years as increasing numbers of tech companies turn to them as a way of settling disputes. Since 2009, Apple has found themselves embroiled in patent disputes with Nokia, HTC, Motorola and Samsung, while Nokia has also accused Google’s Nexus 7 of infringing patents and Microsoft and Motorola have gone back and forth with claims and counterclaims.

The fact that the ITC has the power to ban imports into the U.S. gives the chance for competitors to gain an edge in the market and, while such a banning order is rare, any opportunity to get ahead is always going to be seized upon by tech companies.

Apple has yet to comment on the ITC decision, although Motorola did issue a brief statement, simply saying:

We’re disappointed with this outcome and are evaluating our options.”

– Anthony Carter

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