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ITC Ruling: Apple Not Violating Motorola Patents

Looks like Friday was a rulings day: Apple was declared the winner in its patent fight against Samsung, and the ITC also completed its review of a Motorola complaint filed back in April, seeking an import ban on Apple’s iPhone.

Apple vs. Motorola
Although it isn’t as substantial as the Samsung vs. Apple case ruling, the six-member US International Trade Commission found yesterday that Apple is not infringing three standard-essential Motorola patents, yet held off on the fourth one, as it completed its review of an earlier decision, Florian Müller reports.

The patent isn’t a standard-essential intellectual property, yet the ITC decided to conduct further investigation with Administrative Law Judge Thomas Pender. The judge initially found that one of the claims are indefinite, and he ruled that Apple is not violating this patent. However, if the ITC reverses Judge Pender’s decision, the import ban threat will be a reality for Apple.

The patent at issue is Motorola’s US Patent No. 6,246,862 for a “Sensor-controlled user interface for portable communication device”, which describes a touch interface disabled when the communication device—in this case the iPhone—comes into close proximity with a user. Fact is, Apple is using a similar technology in its more popular iPhone: an IR sensor, aimed at detecting when the device is close to the user’s head.

As we previously reported, Motorola recently submitted another ITC complaint against Apple, claiming the Cupertino company is violating seven of its non-standard-essential intellectual property rights. The battle is on! [Via Foss Patents]

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