Motorola patent not good enough against Apple, ITC judge says

December 18, 2012
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Apple has obtained another victory against Google-owned Motorola, as an ITC judge found in a preliminary ruling that the iPhone maker is not violating a Motorola proximity sensor patent (U.S. Patent No. 6,246,862).

According to Judge Thomas Pender, the ‘862 patent – which describes a technology that “stops phone users from dialing wrong numbers on touchscreen devices” – is invalid.

While the ruling is not final and an ITC panel will review it, it seems unlikely that the decision won’t be overturned. Earlier this year, the commission cleared Apple of allegedly infringing three other Motorola patents in the same case. The ‘862 patent was left with Pender for further examination, and it looks like the iPhone maker will be cleared on this one as well.

So far Google’s attempts to fight back in the patent wars against Apple have not been successful at all. The company purchased Motorola – and paid a hefty $12.5 billion price, with the costs not stopping there since Moto is not yet a profitable subsidiary – mostly for its patents, as one Google exec revealed not so long ago.

As for Apple, the company has received plenty of favorable rulings against its main Android rivals, with the most recent ones (not counting this Motorola ITC patent dispute) coming in its cases against Samsung. A U.S. judge upheld the jury verdict in a first case between the two companies in the country, while the South Korean company decided to drop all of its FRAND-based European lawsuits targeting Apple in Europe.

However, the patent wars are hardly over, as the only Android maker to settle with Apple so far is HTC.

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