US ITC to investigate Apple's products in response to Motorola complaint

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The U.S. International Trade Commission announced on Tuesday that it has voted to investigate Apple's lineup of products, including the iPhone, iPad and Macs, in response to a complaint lodged by Google-owned Motorola Mobility.

Motorola has alleged that Apple's products violate section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. The handset maker hopes the ITC will block the importation of Apple's devices that Motorola believes infringe upon its patented inventions.

The ITC's decision to investigate is not an indication of a future ruling for or against Apple. The commission frequently elects to investigate patent infringement complaints filed by major corporations.

The ITC said Tuesday that its determination will come at the "earliest practicable time." A target date for completion will be set within 45 after the investigation begins.

Motorola filed its latest lawsuit against Apple with the ITC last month. The suit accuses Apple of infringing upon seven Motorola Mobility patents related to features such as location reminders, e-mail notifications, and video playback functionality.

"We would like to settle these patent matters, but Apple’s unwillingness to work out a license leaves us little choice but to defend ourselves and our engineers’ innovations," Motorola said in a statement issued in August.

As patent infringement claims continue to grow in the mobile phone market, the ITC has been very busy with complaints relating to Apple and its rivals. Just last week, an ITC judge ruled that Apple did not infringe upon patents owned by Samsung.