New MacBook Pros are here! Get the lowest prices anywhere: Apple Price Guides updated Aug 29th (exclusive coupons)
 


Friday, January 13, 2012, 03:46 pm PT (06:46 pm ET)

ITC rules Motorola did not violate Apple patents [u]

Apple's worldwide battle against Google's Android platform was dealt a blow as the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that Motorola's Droid line of smartphones do not violate Apple's patents [updated with statement from Motorola].

Update: "We are pleased with today's favorable outcome for Motorola Mobility," Scott Offer, senior vice president and general counsel of Motorola Mobility, said in a statement. "Motorola Mobility has worked hard over the years to develop technology and build an industry-leading intellectual property portfolio. We are proud to leverage this broad and deep portfolio to create differentiated innovations that enhance the user experience."

The ITC's preliminary decision on Friday, which must still be passed by the entire six-members of the commission, brings an end to a complaint first filed in October 2010 by Apple that alleged Motorola violated several of the iPhone maker's patents, reports CNET.

In the original complaint, Apple said that Motorola's Droid, Droid 2, Droid X and other smartphones and software infringed on certain existing multitouch patents.

If the Cupertino, Calif., company won the case, Motorola would have suffered a product import ban similar to Samsung's German injunction. The decision was initially planned for November 2011, but the ITC pushed back the date saying that a final ruling would be announced in March.

Motorola's win may give Google a direct advantage in the future, however, as the internet search giant is in the midst of buying the once-dominating phone maker. The company recently won an injunction against 3G-capable iPhones and iPads in Germany based on an essential GPRS patent, which will force Apple to either modify its hardware or remove the feature altogether.

The news is the latest development in an ongoing war between Apple and smartphone manufacturers building handsets running Google's Android OS. A recent report said that the litigation can be seen as a potential windfall for Apple as royalties and licensing fees could possibly equate to unprecedented earnings.