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Friday, March 16, 2012, 11:44 pm PT (02:44 am ET)

Final ITC ruling clears Motorola of Apple patent infringement

After reviewing an initial determination that exonerated Motorola Mobility from claims of infringement on certain Apple patents, the U.S. International Trade Commission on Friday handed down a "finding of no violation" that effectively brings an end to the nearly year-and-a-half long investigation.

The six-member commission at the head of the ITC gave notice that it had finished a partial review of the case's initial determination (ID), and sided with the ruling of an administrative law judge who found that Motorola did not infringe upon three Apple patents, reports FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller.

Apple first filed the ITC complaint in October 2010 in response to a Motorola patent attack, alleging that the telecom giant's Droid, Droid 2, Droid X and other smartphones infringed on existing multitouch patents. The subsequent investigation concluded in January when an ALJ found that Motorola were not in violation of the asserted Apple patents.

The three patents asserted against Motorola were U.S. Patent No.7,812,828 for "elipse fitting for multi-touch surfaces," No. 7,663,607 for a "multipoint touchscreen" and No. 5,379,430 for an "object-oriented system locator system."

Friday's judgment is the result of Apple's final petition for review of the ALJ's ruling, which the company filed for in February.

ITC Ruling

Excerpt of Friday's ITC ruling that held Motorola in "no violation" of Apple patents. | Source: ITC (pdf document)


Apple has the option to dispute the decision in federal court, and Mueller believes this will likely happen considering the iPhone maker is appealing a partially-won ITC ruling involving Taiwanese company HTC.

The aforementioned ITC investigations were being closely watched by Google because the outcome of each directly affects either the Android OS or the online search monolith itself as Motorola Mobility is in the process of being acquired by Google for a reported $12.5 billion. The deal will net the Mountain View, Calif. company some 25,000 patents, many of which are related to wireless technology.

Mueller noted in February that Google filed public interest statements with the ITC regarding both the Motorola and HTC investigations as a self-proclaimed "non-party."

"Should the Commission enter an exclusion order, it will reward Apple for asserting patented technologies that are, at best, minor components of the accused products," Google wrote about the Motorola infringement case. The statement went on to say that ""Apple needs no protection from the forces of the market; it is the largest seller of mobile devices, with a record $46.33 billion in recent quarterly revenue and $13.06 billion in quarterly net profit."