By Diane Bartz
WASHINGTON, April 22 Apple Inc scored a
win on Monday when the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled
that it did not violate a Google patent to make the
Apple had initially been accused of infringing on six
patents for iPhone-related technology covering everything from
reducing signal noise to programming the device's touch screen
so a user's head does not accidentally activate it while talking
on the phone.
If Apple had been found guilty of violating the patent, its
devices could have been banned from being imported into the
Google can appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the Federal Circuit. "We're disappointed with this outcome
and are evaluating our options," the company said in a
statement. A spokeswoman for Apple declined comment.
The smartphone industry has seen dozens of lawsuits on
several continents as Apple vies for market share with companies
that make smartphones that use Google's Android software.
Google acquired the patents in the case - and the lawsuit -
when it purchased Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in 2012,
partly for its library of telecommunications patents.
Google's Android software, which the company lets handset
makers use for free, has become the world's No. 1 smartphone
operating system, ahead of the iOS software used on Apple
The ITC, a U.S. trade panel that investigates patent
infringement involving imported goods, is a popular venue for
patent lawsuits because it can bar the importation of infringing
products and because it issues decisions relatively quickly.
Motorola Mobility, which has since been acquired by Google,
accused Apple in 2010 of infringing on six of its patents. Two
were terminated from the case, and the ITC said last August that
Apple was innocent of infringing three others.
But the commission had also asked its internal judge, Thomas
Pender, to reconsider its finding that Apple did not violate a
fourth patent, which is for a sensor to monitor the location of
a user's head to keep it from maneuvering on the touch screen.
Pender found that patent obvious in December, and the full ITC
came to the same conclusion on Monday.
The case in the ITC is In the Matter of Certain Wireless
Communication Devices, Portable Music and Data Processing
Devices, Computers and Components Thereof, 337-745.