Google and Motorola have another patent thrown out by the ITC

April 24, 2013
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Google and Motorola have endured another blow in their assault on mobile competitors. Last week, a German court denied Motorola an injunction over a push notification patent against Microsoft. Now the ITC has thrown out the remaining patent in the investigation of Motorola’s 2010 complaint against Apple. The patent in context is on a “sensor controlled user interface for portable communication devices” and was ruled to be invalid.

The patent describes a technology that allows a mobile device to ignore any touch screen input while the user is in the middle of a phone call, with the device held close to the head. In its ITC case against Apple, Google aimed to have Apple products that use the technology, such as the iPhone, banned in the U.S.

Google can appeal the decision, as it has done with the other patents thrown out in the investigation.

In August 2012, the Commission remanded the investigation to the Administrative Law Judge and Judge Pender found the patents invalid due to indefiniteness. However, the Commision later overruled his decision. On December 19, 2012 Judge Pender changed his decision, claiming the patents were invalid due to lack of novelty. The Commission has again disagreed with Judge Pender’s findings but it has still thrown out the final patent in the suit on different grounds:

[The Commission] agreed with Apple on two other invalidity theories involving the same patent and found the patent obvious over the earlier-filed Motorola patent in combination with either common general knowledge or another patent.

Google, which acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion last year, hoped to use Motorola’s large patent treasure trove to fight off prior attacks from Apple. So far, Google has yet to afflict any damage in the patent fights across the globe and although Apple hasn’t gone after Android itself, it has attacked Google’s partners, obtaining several favorable verdicts.

Google may not have tasted the victory it has been searching for yet, but this won’t deter the company from continuing its fight back against Apple and other competitors.

Do you believe everybody should just play along nicely? Tired of all the patent trolls? Let us know in the comments!

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