An International Trade Commission (ITC) judged ruled out that Apple Inc infringed on Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc patent in making its popular iPhones, iPads and other major products.
During the preliminary ruling, ITC Judge Thomas Pender said Apple infringed on patent for eliminating noise and other interference during voice and data transmissions. The judge’s decision will now be reviewed by a full commission and a final ruling is expected in August.
Motorola Mobility, on the other hand, has also accused Apple Inc of violating three other patents – including one for touchscreen technology, but ITC judge ignored these claims.
The firm, which is under acquisition by Google Inc, expressing its content over the decision has further asked for the infringing devices to be barred from entering the US.
“A court in Germany has already declared this patent invalid, so we believe we will have a very strong case on appeal,” Apple’s spokesperson Kristin Huguet said.
Similar lawsuits have been filed by Motorola Mobility against Apple in the states of Illinois and Florida.
Currently, Google’s Android operating system, which the company offers to handset makers like Motorola Mobility for free, is world’s no 1 smartphone operating system compared to Apple’s iOS used on the world’s most popular iPhones.
Google, however, has not been directly involved in lawsuits because it does not manufacture its own phone. Analysts believe its pending acquisition with Motorola will have an impact on its involvement.
International Trade Commission (ITC) is a US trade panel that investigates patent infringement involving imported goods, and is a popular venue to file patent lawsuits. It has got the right to bar importation of infringing products and because its cases are ruled out quickly.
This is not the first time that Apple and Motorola Mobility have sued each other. Apple’s main case against Motorola Mobility over six of its patents goes on trial in June in Chicago. Motorola Mobility is also suing Apple in Chicago, hearings for which will also start in June.
Apple and Samsung are also going through patent rows and they have more than 20 cases in 10 countries.
According to Edward Weisz of Cozen O’Connor, New York, a patent lawyer specializes in communications, there are many big companies that are engaged in patent rows.
“Every other week, some big player is buying up chunk of patents or licensing a big chunk of patents. I don’t see it ending it too soon. The products are still hot, there’s still a lot of money to be made.”
He also felt that these settlements are inevitable. “As the big players become more and more armed with chunks of patents in this area, and some of these are pioneering patents that go back years, you’ll see more opportunity for settlement and cross- licensing,” he said.
Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg