ITC supports Apple in Google Motorola Mobility patent claim

ITC supports Apple in Google Motorola Mobility patent claim

Summary: A U.S. judge has ruled that Google's Motorola Mobility unit is not allowed to pursue a smartphone patent against Apple.

TOPICS: Apple, Google, Patents
itc apple google motorola mobility judge result

The ITC has ruled that Apple has not infringed on a patent owned by Google's Motorola Mobility unit. 

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has decided that a patent which covers a proximity sensor -- which prevents phone users from accidentally dialing the wrong numbers -- cannot be used against Apple in mobile product disputes.

ITC Administrative Law judge Thomas Pende ruled that the patent is "invalid," according to Reuters in an initial determination -- which means the ruling is not the final decision and must be reviewed further.

Therefore, Google's Motorola Mobility unit cannot use this patent against tech giant Apple, and the firm maker has been cleared of patent infringement concerning the iPhone.

"We're disappointed with this outcome and are evaluating our options," Motorola spokeswoman Jennifer Weyrauch-Erickson told the news agency.

In August, Apple was cleared of violating three Motorola-owned patents, and the ITC asked the judge to further examine the proximity sensor. Now Pender has ruled that the patent is invalid, the six-member commission will review the decision, and choose whether to finalize the order.

Google finalized the acquisition of Motorola Mobility this year for $12.5 billion, purchased partly due to its vast hoard of telecommunications patents, which further complicates the process as the tech giant is the developer of the Android operating system, the strongest rival against Apple's iOS.

The ITC is a popular American venue for these types of lawsuits as it has the power to prevent products that infringe on patents and stop them being exported, as civil lawsuits can be brought against firms at the same time that ITC cases are open.

Topics: Apple, Google, Patents

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  • Good to see

    more, seemingly bogus, patents are being reviewed and ruled invalid. Anyone got a link to the full report as to why the patent was deemed unenforceable?
    Little Old Man
    • ITC erred here

      that was a cutting edge patent despite what $hills like Florian Muller say.
      LlNUX Geek
      • Can your bias reak anymore than it does?

        I am sure you are the one to harp on everyone if it ruled to your liking but against? Shame on everyone else right?
  • Money talks

    Money talks in this country. I say it is time to invailidate all patents. Every company should have to sell their products based on functions instead of patent fights.
    • Try tell that to Google, which trying to abuse their FRAND-restricted ...

      ... patents, as well as holds their own search-related patents -- and you will never have an enemy fiercer than that.
      • While apple likes it both ways

        Use/steal everyone else's IP, argue about it all the way to the ruling against them, then sue anyone else that does something similar.

        I hear after Sony are worried about their latest photo frame, it's so rectangular apple will be looking to sell.

        Lets all remember that in the world according to DDERRS, are the righteous company protecting their IP rights and should be applauded. Everyone else is just a nasty troll out to get at apple. Only dderrss and danbi can make this stuff up.
        Little Old Man
        • sell?

          I meant sue obviously. Please bring back the edit button, pretty please.
          Little Old Man
          • Sell makes more sense in your context.

            Given there is no precedence of Apple suing over digital picture frames except in the mind of the delusional.
          • It was joke

            FFS lighten up, not everything is a full on hive attack.
            Little Old Man
        • If the Sony picture frame is well designed...

          I am sure Apple would be happy to sell it as an accessory on their on-line store.
        • Is that you Toddy?

          Some of the language you use is different (a little clumsier if truth be told)...but the underlying tools and style are right there. You sure sound like Toddy. I had expected Toddy to maybe make a shift as he has been called out as a professional so often of late. He did it before when switching from his NonZealot persona.

          That being said...a patent has been ruled invalid by a court. It happens...this time the ruling favors Apple...sometimes it doesn't. There doesn't seem to be much more to this story than that...despite Little Old Man's comments.

          As for can a company compete on functions if said functions cost lots of money to develop and another company can just copy them without incurring any of the costs to develop them? Patents serve a purpose. The fact that a court has invalidated this patent actually helps validate the process...patents that get issued in error can be challenged and invalidated. Whether they be from Apple or Motorola or MS.
          • On further review...

            I see other comments from "Little Old man" that clearly don't fit Toddy's persona.

            My sincere apologies for the comparison LoM!!
          • It's not the 1st time

            Apology accepted.
            Little Old Man
          • Wider picture

            You miss the fact there is a new focus on patents, certainly in the US, whether the system is being questioned by the very office that grants them. I think there will be more of these to come and rightly so, if they don't pass the merit test. Although I do admit my comment above is based on trust in the ITC (misplaced?) as I haven't seen the full report.
            Ironically it would appear the EU is going the other way and looking to widen the criteria for patents.
            Little Old Man
          • It probably comes down to resourcing

            I've seen the patent world from a different view having had patents allowed (and rejected at times) in a totally different field than that covered by ZDNet. I think the patent office is overwhelmed and often lacks adequate and specific expertise in many cases. The real meat of the patents in the claim language is often so incredibly difficult to follow for anyone not deeply involved that things can slip thorough....and you know there are clever lawyers out there gaming the system as hard as they can...on all sides..trolls and companies. Giving the patent office more resources would certainly help. A better 'User Pays' system might help provided that conflict of interest matters were managed adequately.
          • I agree

            To fully evaluate and research every patent application and the possible duplication and prior art, it just isn't feasible for the patent office to do it with the resources available. I'm sure I've seen a comment similar from the office themselves.
            It will be interesting to see if google's patent search tool will be a) adopted by the patent office to aid the review process or b) if it will throw up inconsistencies in recent patent filings with the possibility of invalidating them.
            Little Old Man
          • So funny to see you scrambling

            I know you think I'm a professional. I take that as a compliment. However, it is funny to see you say that I've been called out as a professional so often when you are the only one who does so. I guess I shouldn't feel quite so complimented after all, clearly most people disagree with you.

            As for this NonZealot persona, I've seen so many accounts on here accused of being this NonZealot character that I'm reminded of the story of the boogeyman who is lurking in shadows EVERYWHERE. Too funny.

            Is this the NonZealot character you are referring to?

            I kind of wish I was NonZealot now. That was a great read.
          • I never said that NZ wasn't good at what he/she did

            Like you...NZ showed the skills and used the tools of the professional...and never came out with a direct denial. But, we both know you're just toying with me. Like a pro.

            I accept your reply in the spirit in which it was intended.
          • Take this any way you want

            "But, we both know you're just toying with me. Like a pro."

            Sometimes I think you give me credit for being WAY smarter than I am. But, like I said, I'll take it as a compliment.

            "and never came out with a direct denial"

            You are big on the direct denials. Let me ask you a question: would it matter? Denials on the Internet aren't worth the pixels on the screen used to display them. I've often posted about my experiences with my iPhone 4 and iPad 2. Many here don't believe me. They demand proof. I don't even go down that road because I've seen what happens when others have. They post pictures. They post screen shots of their system info. I've seen people spend a lot of time posting proof only to be told that they got the picture from a friend or it was photoshopped.

            I don't worry too much about whether or not people believe the things I say because in my experience, the people who say "I don't believe you" have already made up their minds and no amount of "it's true" will sway them. I take a much simpler approach: it doesn't matter if you believe me. I will never be able to prove to you that I'm not a professional. Proof like that simply can't be delivered to you.

            Put it this way: would our debate about AAPL's stock price plunge have gone any differently if you believed I wasn't a paid professional blog commentor? Would you have used different counter points? If not, then my denials are meaningless to you. If I make good points, it shouldn't matter if I'm a professional. If I make bad points, it shouldn't matter if I'm an amateur.

            Or was this entire post just a ploy to toy with you some more? You'll never know. Fun, right?
          • Thank you TB

            It was nice to reminisce about times gone by:

            "XP SP2 is unusable with just 256MB and 600MHz, 512MB and a a single core 1GHz is barely functional."
            Little Old Man