ITC gives Motorola the early win in patent fight with Apple
Apple has suffered an early loss in its patent suit against Motorola. An administrative law judge (ALJ) with the International Trade Commission (ITC) issued an initial ruling late on Friday, saying that Motorola did not violate three of Apple’s smartphone patents. The decision signals potential trouble for Apple, though it still faces the approval of a six-person ITC panel.
Apple and Motorola have been embroiled in a series of lawsuits both in federal court and with the ITC since 2010, when Motorola first accused Apple of violating a wide range of its patents covering 3G, GPRS, and 802.11 technologies, antenna design, proximity sensing, and device synchronization, to name a few. As is typical for these patent disputes, Apple immediately responded with its own countersuits, claiming that Motorola’s Android-based smartphones were infringing on Apple’s own intellectual property.
Friday’s ruling isn’t yet the final word from the ITC, and the panel doesn’t always rule the same way as the ALJ. Still, the decision is an indicator that Apple’s IP fight against Android may not be as easy as former Apple CEO Steve Jobs might have hoped when he said he hoped to “go thermonuclear war” against the platform. Though Apple has not commented publicly on the initial ITC ruling, Motorola was quick to send out a victorious statement for its early win.