Apple has won reprieve in a U.S.-based appeals court, a judge ruling that the tech giant can resurrect patent claims against Google-owned Motorola Mobility.
As reported by Reuters, the Federal U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. found that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) made a mistake by invalidating one Apple patent and finding that Google's Motorola Mobility unit did not violate another.
Both patents in question relate to the iPhone and iPad. U.S. Patent No. 7,663,607 can sense multiple touches in different locations, which allows the operating of a smartphone by touching and swiping its screen, whereas U.S. Patent No. 7,812,828 discloses how to make a touchscreen transparent.
Apple's original complaint against the Google-owned unit was filed in 2010, just before the search engine giant acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. The ITC originally ruled that Motorola Mobility did not violate patent 828, but in the opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, posted today (.pdf), the agency was mistaken in the judgement, and should reconsider whether the company infringed upon Apple's patented technology.
"The ITC succumbed to the bias of hindsight as the record bears significant objective evidence that Apple's patent was innovative. The ITC erred in making an obviousness determination without fully considering evidence pertaining to industry praise, copying, and commercial success," Circuit Judge Kimberly Moore wrote.
In April, the ITC sided with Apple, dismissing a complaint by Motorola Mobility that the rival firm infringing on patented technology which makes touchscreens ignore fingers when users are making calls.
The court ruling means that the iPad and iPhone maker will be allowed to renew its arguments against Motorola Mobility now the case has been returned to the ITC for further scrutiny.
The ITC is often used to quickly resolve patent disputes between companies as the commission deals with cases more rapidly than the option of going through federal courts. The agency has the power to enact and enforce sales bans in the United States, although this power has recently come under scrutiny by the Obama Administration. The White House recently overturned an ITC ruling which prevented Apple from selling older versions of the AT&T iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G, iPad 2 3G devices in the United States, following a patent infringement suit with Samsung.