The International Trade Commission has decided, on review, to affirm its initial determination (a recommendation for a decision) that Motorola didn’t infringe three Apple patents, reports “FOSS Patents” (http://macte.ch/FhLb3). This means the investigation is terminated.
“Apple can appeal this decision to the Federal Circuit, and in my view, this is very likely to happen. Apple is already appealing certain parts of the ITC’s ruling on Apple’s first complaint against HTC. Chances are that the Federal Circuit will overturn a number of ITC findings in the smartphone-related cases, but it will take time,” writes Florian Mueller for “FOSS Patents.” “It rarely happens that the ITC issues a review notice but then decides on the issues under review right away, without asking the parties for further comment on them. It appears that the ITC just did some clean-up of its own with a view to the expected appeal to the Federal Circuit. The formal target date for this decision was actually May 14, but the Commission cut the process short (by two months) with today’s notice.”
All this is part of an ongoing battle between the two companies. Apple has previously alleged that Motorola infringes 24 of its patents (21 of them with Android-based phones, the remaining three with set-top boxes and DVRs), while Motorola previously asserted 18 patents against a variety of Apple products (mostly but not exclusively iPhone, iPad and iPod). Litigation between the two companies has taken place in several different federal courts.
In November 2010 Apple sued Motorola, alleging that the company’s smartphone lineup and the operating software it uses infringe on the iPhone-maker’s intellectual property. The two lawsuits came after Motorola sued Apple in October 2010 for patent infringement. Motorola claims that Apple’s iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and certain Mac computers infringe Motorola patents.