ITC to revisit Motorola's win over Apple: U.S. iPhone ban looms?

ITC to revisit Motorola's win over Apple: U.S. iPhone ban looms?

Summary: The ITC is to revisit Motorola's initial win over Apple in a patent infringement case that could ultimately see Apple's products banned from import to the United States.


The U.S. International Trade Commission will revisit an initial ruling made in April that stated Apple had infringed on one of Motorola Mobility's patents.

The Google-owned smartphone maker had initially put four patent claims forward. ITC judge Thomas Pender said only one patent relating to noise elimination during voice calls had been infringed, and agreed to Motorola's initial determination.

A full ITC ruling is expected later this summer.

The ITC has the power to prevent any product imported to the U.S, which is fitting seeing as Motorola took the case to see infringing devices stopped at the border.

Therefore, once the case is revisited and a decision made, Apple could see imported iPhones and 3G-enabled iPads entering the United States.

Motorola had asked the ITC to reopen the case --- as did Apple --- though for two separate reasons. Motorola saw one of its patents used in the battle ruled as invalid, while Apple flat out claims it had not infringed Motorola's patents and doesn't want to see its imported iPhones and iPads barred from U.S. entry.

The ITC wants Apple and Motorola to answer further questions, including which patents were licensed under "fair and reasonable" (FRAND) terms.

The commission also said it would take into account "the public interest." Considering how much the U.S. loves their iPhones and iPads, it does not mean a ban could be enforced immediately despite siding with Motorola.


Topics: iPhone, Apple, Mobility, Security, Wi-Fi

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  • A decision needs to be made

    If a company uses but refuses to pay for the use of said standard essential patent, why shouldn't they be subject to the same "ban" penalty?
    • There is nothing about the "ban" in the actual news; this is just Zack's ..

      ... sensationalistic reporting (UK is the motherland of tabloid journalism).

      The term "revisit" means that the issue will be considered again. It could either confirm the ruling about Apple infringing Motorola's patent, or deny it this time.

      Sanctions only follow after that -- and only if the infringement will be confirmed. Also, whose devices will be banned will depend on which side the court will take this time. There are a lot of claims and counter claims.
    • You dont get banned. Especially when the judge uses iproducts.

      Seriously though you get fined. You have to put up money to pay the license that is held until the decision is settled, at which point it is given to the patent holder or returned to the patent user. Part of FRAND is not to ban. If this is a FRAND patent then even if infringing apple will have to give moto very little. Moto is violating it's FRAND commitments on many fronts and is being investigated/sued over that.
      Johnny Vegas

      This has nothing to do with whether Apple infringes this SEP or whether it's valid. This is a SEP Patent that has already been Perfected. What's being discussed is.... CAN the ITC IMPLEMENTED as a Legal Remedy in the case of a SEP?

      Furthermore...... if not, what Remedies can the ITC use Against Apple. If a Bond is ordered, what should be the amount that Apple would be ordered to pay, if they continue to allow Apple's infringed products to enter the country? Along with additional penalties and fees to insure that at some point Apple and Motorola can come to an agreement. The higher the amount the more likely Apple is to settle sooner without ordering an injunction, where Consumers are still allowed to buy Apple's products without having these penalties passed on to the consumers.

      This way they have a better chance of making this ITC decision accomplish what it's there for in the first place. Adjudicate disagreements for two American based Corporations in the best interest of all parties involved!
  • Make the penalty worth the effort

    By the time this gets through the courts a ban won't even matter, as Apple will have found a work around, or will be required to license the patent. Instead of a ban, Apple should have to pay all revenue generated by sales of infringing hardware to Google/Motorola. Yes, ALL REVENUE, not profits or a percentage of profits, but every dime from every sale should be paid to the company they ripped off, and let Apple eat the costs involved in making and selling the infringing products. It MIGHT be enough incentive that they will at least think twice before stealing from a competitor the next time.
    • Off with their heads, too

      Alas, ex post facto laws are banned under the Constitution.
      Robert Hahn
    • And this is exactly why you will never have any say in the matter.

      Shocking isnt it.
      Johnny Vegas
    • And yet I'll bet you think the RIAA is totally out of line

      in fining people who pirate music.
      • as for the RIAA

        The penalty I described for Apple would b on a par with what the RIAA tries to take from people who pirate music. $150,000 per track is several years income for most of the people that the RIAA targets. If you want to compare fines, the RIAA should get a fraction of a penny per violation to be on a par with the laughable penalty directed at Apple.
    • Does this apply to all

      Or do you only feel this way when it's Apple that would have to pay?
  • Apple gets a taste of its own medicine

    It is difficult to say who started all this but Apple has been aggressively suing other vendors right and left, including having other vendors' products banned from various markets. Google purchased Motorola as a defense against Apple. The best defense is a good offense and Motorola is doing exactly what it needs to do. After Apple products are banned in the US, maybe Apple will become more willing to negotiate cross licensing with other vendors. If vendors cannot negotiate then the government may have to step in to arbitrarily decide what each patent is worth per device. Otherwise, we may get to the point where no electronic device can be sold in the US.
  • wtf?!

    The commission said they'll take into account "public interest"?! That has ZERO relevance to an infringement claim!...well, that'll be an easy loophole for Apple to jump through.