The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has officially ruled in favor of Apple against Google’s Motorola Mobility in a patent case that began in 2010. The last patent Motorola was using to sue Apple for infringement has been ruled invalid by the ITC.
Motorola sued Apple for allegedly violating six of its patents three years ago, and today’s patent was the last of six patents to be thrown out of court. If Motorola would have proven Apple’s infringement of this particular patent, the ITC could have possibly blocked sales of certain iPhone models.
Back in August, Google-owned Motorola Mobility sued Apple for violating 7 of its software patents. Motorola accused Apple of infringing on patents relating to everything from location-based reminders to email notifications.
Now The International Trade Commission (ITC) has thrown out Motorola’s claim that the iPhone violates a patent on “a sensor that prevents accidental hang-ups,” according to Bloomberg. Motorola’s proximity sensor patent has been deemed invalid by the ITC for the second time, and it looks like Motorola won’t have much luck at appealing the decision.
Another “tentative” blow has been handed to Apple as the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued a first Office action rejecting all 20 claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949. This multitouch patent, often referred to as “the Steve Jobs patent,” includes “touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics.”
Last month, HTC and Apple reached a cross-licensing settlement that would put a 10-year kibosh on any litigation between the two. While HTC’s Peter Chou was happy enough to call the settlement “A Good Ending,” Samsung saw it as an opportunity to have injunction proceedings against them thrown out.
Just over a week ago, Apple and HTC decided to end their patent disputes with a 10-year cross-licensing agreement. The specifics of the agreement were not disclosed, and as with all things that aren’t disclosed, it lead to rampant rumor mongering.
To say Samsung and Apple have a strained relationship would be quite the understatement. A once symbiotic partnership has turned into an all out war over claims of patent infringement and design copying. Their global legal battles have disgusted enough judges and consumers to spawn serious debate over the current status of our patent system and a call for reform.
Thankfully, it’s been some time since I’ve written about an Apple patent lawsuit, however, that doesn’t mean they’ve magically disappeared. The latest in Apple’s crusade against Google (via Motorola Mobility), leads us to a U.S. District Court in Madison, Wisconsin. Apple was slated to go up against Motorola Mobility with allegations of unfair licensing practices, however, Judge Barbara Crabb has dismissed Apple’s lawsuit with prejudice — meaning the case is over at the trial court level.
Apple has just lost one of its magic patent bullets thanks to a non-final Office action by the USPTO. Patent No, 7,469,381 (used against Samsung in California) has been declared invalid after evidence supporting prior art (as well as being obvious) was brought about during a reexamination request.
This news is not only great for Samsung, but many other manufacturers who are currently caught up in Apple’s legal charades.
Since I’m sure you all stay awake at night worrying about the latest developments in ITC complaints and patent disputes, you’re all probably dying to know that Motorola has withdrawn a complaint it made against Apple back in mid-August. We have absolutely no idea why the sudden change of heart, but I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough. The web is abuzz with theories, but the truth is most likely much less controversial.
Motorola is looking to bring down the ban hammer on almost every Apple product out there, including every Mac OSX computer. I have no idea if Motorola is just looking to throw spaghetti at the wall or what, but they have a long list of infringements that apparently the International Trade Commission has agreed to investigate.