Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc has won a partial U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) judge’s ruling in its bid to block imports of Apple’s iOS devices.
According to a notice that was released today, Apple has been found to have violated one of four patent rights being contested by Motorola. Judge Thomas Pender of the ITC made the decision today, saying that the other three patents weren’t infringed upon. The judge ruled that Apple violated a 3G related patent.
The decision is subject to inspection by a six-member commission, which has the overall power to block imports into the U.S. that infringe on existing patents.
Apple itself has optimistic words:
“A court in Germany has already ruled that Apple did not infringe on this patent, so we believe we will have a very strong case on appeal,” Kristin Huguet, a Apple spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview, referring to the one patent Apple was found to have violated.
Motorola’s spokeswomen had this to say about the ruling:
“We are pleased that the ALJ’s initial determination finds Apple to be in violation of Motorola Mobility’s intellectual property, and look forward to the full commission’s ruling in August,” Becki Leonard, a spokeswoman for Motorola Mobility, said in an e-mailed statement.
The six-member commission’s inspection will be complete by August 23rd. If the six-member commission believe an import ban is warranted then the decision will then be passed on to U.S. President Barack Obama and also to an appeals court that specializes specifically in such patent-dealing cases for review.
“These are long wars, and it’s one more battle in the war,” said Carl Howe, an analyst with Yankee Group. He said the global market for mobile devices, which includes smartphones, tablet computers and e-readers, is projected to reach $360 billion this year. [...]
[...] “It’s about accumulating as much intellectual property as possible,” Howe said. “It’s not good for innovation if you do that, but that seems to be where we’re heading.”
Motorola filed complaints on October 1st 2011, while Apple was simultaneously alleging smartphones running on iOS’ competitive operating system, Google’s Android, of copying iOS. Apple countersued Motorola and the plot (war) has thickened since then. Apple claims Motorola is suing it for industry-standard technology, which Motorola has not offered to license to Apple.
I seriously doubt that the ITC would go to the extent of completely banning the import of iOS devices.
We’ll let you know as soon as there are any further updates on this case.