ITC Sides With Apple in Mobile Phone Sensor Patent Dispute

Apple has won another battle this month at the U.S. International Trade Commission. The ruling dismissed patent claims by Google's Motorola Mobility against Apple's iPhone. If Motorola had prevailed, the ITC could have instituted a ban on imports of the iPhone into the United States from Apple's manufacturers in China.

The ITC looked into the case after Administrative Law Judge Thomas Pender invalidated the final patent in the dispute last year. Pender ruled that Motorola could not patent a sensor that prevents unintended hang-ups and application launches when the phone is close to a person's face because of its similarity to other patents on the market.

In its appeal of that ruling Motorola argued that it filed the patent in 1999 before mobile touch-screen devices were prevalent in the market. The company also said in its appeal that late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs himself called the sensor a "breakthrough," though Apple countered that Jobs wasn't talking about the sensor patent directly.

The ITC ended its investigation Monday and sided with Apple's arguments that the sensor patent is invalid dude to its lack of inventiveness.

Of course, the patent war between the two companies continues on in other courts in the U.S. and abroad… You can read the ruling here (PDF).

Source: Courthouse News


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