Final ITC ruling clears Motorola of Apple patent infringement

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014


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 for "elipse fitting for multi-touch surfaces," for a "multipoint touchscreen" and 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.





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."



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 60
    Those patent descriptions were WAAAAY over my head...



    Besides, I'm afraid I infringe on the "object-oriented system locator system" when I fumble for my lamp switch in the dark.
  • Reply 2 of 60
    Oh well... Apple has plenty of other patents to clobber Googorola.



    Motorola is essentially a dead $12 billion company being used as an ineffective patent weapon.

    What a waste...
  • Reply 3 of 60
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post


    Oh well... Apple has plenty of other patents to clobber Googorola.



    Motorola is essentially a dead $12 billion company being used as an ineffective patent weapon.

    What a waste...



    When everything else fails, at least we'll have denial.
  • Reply 4 of 60
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    "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."



    The ITC isn't the final arbiter. It will eventually be up to the courts to decide if the patents were infringed. Recent ITC rulings suggest that the ITC almost never rules a patent to be infringed.



    In any event, the logic here is bogus.

    1. "It was only a modest infringement, so it's OK"

    and

    2. "Apple has lots of money, so they don't deserve patent protection"



    Neither one of those is a valid legal argument- and is further evidence that the ITC is not going to enforce any patents from anyone. The courts will decide.
  • Reply 5 of 60
    markbyrnmarkbyrn Posts: 612member
    What exactly has Apple gained from the Steve Jobs nuclear litigation strategy? Miscellaneous positive and negative ruling with counter-suits in various jurisdictions around the world resulting in a rather expensive stalemate. I would hope that Mr Cook and company would take a more rational view, and cut some deals with the big companies ala Google, Samsung, etc. Use the legal budget to defend against the never ending stream of patent trolls such Proview and sue those who make obviously copies of their products that any lay non-tech person (to include the Judges that make rulings) will readily understand, ala Pystar. If somebody starts making knock-off iPhones that run iOS, you probably have a good case.
  • Reply 6 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by markbyrn View Post


    What exactly has Apple gained from the Steve Jobs nuclear litigation strategy? Miscellaneous positive and negative ruling with counter-suits in various jurisdictions around the world resulting in a rather expensive stalemate. I would hope that Mr Cook and company would take a more rational view, and cut some deals with the big companies ala Google, Samsung, etc. Use the legal budget to defend against the never ending stream of patent trolls such Proview and sue those who make obviously copies of their products that any lay non-tech person (to include the Judges that make rulings) will readily understand, ala Pystar. If somebody starts making knock-off iPhones that run iOS, you probably have a good case.



    Agree with your comments and I think you will see some things being negotiated, especially now that Nortel 4G patent sale to Apple was approved. However I agree with the strategy Apple is using, not for "wins" but for deterrence - in fact they were slow to do this. Lets face it, the sheer numbers of patents each of these companies have, allows them to be in litigation for a very very long time. Apple needs to innovate, and it will. But the 'rip off' companies (you know who you are) will be a little more mindful of infringement, knowing Apple's response.
  • Reply 7 of 60
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,589member
    Google is truly the new evil. Apple is big so their patents shouldn't be honored is what Google is saying. And it's ok that we have stolen from them.



    They truly are scumbags.
  • Reply 8 of 60
    solsunsolsun Posts: 763member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by markbyrn View Post


    What exactly has Apple gained from the Steve Jobs nuclear litigation strategy? Miscellaneous positive and negative ruling with counter-suits in various jurisdictions around the world resulting in a rather expensive stalemate. I would hope that Mr Cook and company would take a more rational view, and cut some deals with the big companies ala Google, Samsung, etc. Use the legal budget to defend against the never ending stream of patent trolls such Proview and sue those who make obviously copies of their products that any lay non-tech person (to include the Judges that make rulings) will readily understand, ala Pystar. If somebody starts making knock-off iPhones that run iOS, you probably have a good case.



    Jobs didn't cut "deals" because it wasn't about money for him, it was about the principle of righting a wrong. Theft.
  • Reply 9 of 60
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by markbyrn View Post


    What exactly has Apple gained from the Steve Jobs nuclear litigation strategy? Miscellaneous positive and negative ruling with counter-suits in various jurisdictions around the world resulting in a rather expensive stalemate. I would hope that Mr Cook and company would take a more rational view, and cut some deals with the big companies ala Google, Samsung, etc. Use the legal budget to defend against the never ending stream of patent trolls such Proview and sue those who make obviously copies of their products that any lay non-tech person (to include the Judges that make rulings) will readily understand, ala Pystar. If somebody starts making knock-off iPhones that run iOS, you probably have a good case.



    Apple has gained a great deal - and I suspect that they're far better able to determine whether the battle is worthwhile than you are.



    For example:

    - Tab was kept off the market in several countries for a time and Samsung had to redesign it. That cost Samsung valuable time while Apple was taking control of the iPad market.

    - Motorola and Samsung are going to be facing major problems with the European authorities for their abuse of FRAND.

    - Increased awareness of intellectual property issues -and created a market perception that Apple is the innovator and everyone else is copying (of course, it helps that Samsung hired an attorney who couldn't tell the difference between the two products - which was a major, major PR loss for Samsung).

    - Just a general "we need to look over our shoulder" attitude from all their competitors which probably slows them down - and possibly eliminates the most obvious copying.



    So far, of all the wins and losses, the only thing Apple has lost is the ability to use push notifications in Germany - which their customers can easily work around. All the other issues haven't cost Apple a thing. For example, even if this ITC ruling holds up in court, it didn't hurt Apple - just slowed the competition down a bit.
  • Reply 10 of 60
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    The ITC isn't the final arbiter. It will eventually be up to the courts to decide if the patents were infringed. Recent ITC rulings suggest that the ITC almost never rules a patent to be infringed.



    In any event, the logic here is bogus.

    1. "It was only a modest infringement, so it's OK"

    and

    2. "Apple has lots of money, so they don't deserve patent protection"



    Neither one of those is a valid legal argument- and is further evidence that the ITC is not going to enforce any patents from anyone. The courts will decide.



    Those arguments make sense for an ITC ruling, considering that it's not final. A minor potential infringement should not be a reason to block sales completely, and in the face of booming sales clearly no protective measures need to be taken immediately. It would have been different if the infringing product was affecting Apple's sales. Thus, no urgent actions by the ITC are needed prior to the decision of the courts.



    In the end, some money will change pockets. Nothing that concerns the end user.
  • Reply 11 of 60
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solsun View Post


    Jobs didn't cut "deals" because it wasn't about money for him, it was about the principle of righting a wrong. Theft.



    Jobs was brilliant in making money. Making it seem that he had other motifs was just another side of his genius.
  • Reply 12 of 60
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,744member
    Excellent.



    Now they're free to continue their slide into irrelevance, unfettered.
  • Reply 13 of 60
    Apple has GOT to stop filing these frivolous patent suits. It is unseemly, and is bad fot theri reputation.



    They are getting known as sue-happy, and it looks like they use illegitimate means to compete, instead of innovating.
  • Reply 14 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post


    Jobs was brilliant in making money. Making it seem that he had other motifs was just another side of his genius.



    If Steve J had truly wanted to go thermonuclear on Google then I believe that Apple should have bought Motorola. I had been saying that for a long time prior to the Google announcement. Then Apple could have skipped the courts and just put a heavy price on every Android phone made. If Apple had bought Motorola it would have just enforced what they already had, for Google it's a matter of survival.



    I also said at the time of Google's buyout announcement that there is always a chance that this could go really bad for Apple. I'm still not convinced that it won't.
  • Reply 15 of 60
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,744member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


    Apple has GOT to stop filing these frivolous patent suits. It is unseemly, and is bad fot theri reputation.



    They are getting known as sue-happy, and it looks like they use illegitimate means to compete, instead of innovating.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by markbyrn View Post


    What exactly has Apple gained from the Steve Jobs nuclear litigation strategy?



    Sending a clear message. Often, that's plenty. And it pays dividends.



    With Apple's consumer base and mindshare, it certainly won't affect their sales. This is smart strategy by Apple. They have nothing substantial to lose here. For the past year we've learned a few important things about Apple litigation.



    1) They have not had any injunctions worth anything placed against them, and whatever did get through, they sidestepped with relative ease (as we've seen, on the same day), while forcing a competitor to redesign their product.



    2) Even when Apple was on the losing end of patent litigation, the cost to their sales was zero. They went on to enjoy record quarters. Consumers barely know about patent litigation, nor would they really care even if they did.



    3) Apple is not afraid to test the legal waters, with a ridiculous amount of resources behind them.



    The effect to the competition? It can vary, and they certainly have more at stake and more to lose than Apple. Google especially, given their tenuous patent position. Samsung might be ale to go toe-to-toe with Apple, though they've already demonstrated serious legal ineptitude.



    Motorola is another example, though they're a lame duck anyway.



    Quote:



    http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/201...tigation-costs



    Motorola Mobility’s Preliminary Sales Trail Estimates on Litigation Costs



    Motorola Mobility Inc. (MMI), the phone maker that agreed to be bought by Google (GOOG) Inc., reported preliminary fourth-quarter sales that trailed analysts’ estimates, citing mounting competition and higher legal costs.



    Sales were probably little changed at $3.4 billion in the period, Libertyville, Illinois-based Motorola Mobility said in a statement today. Bloomberg analysts had forecast revenue of $4 billion. Motorola, which recently won a German patent ruling against Apple Inc. (AAPL), cited higher costs from intellectual property litigation and an “increased competitive environment” in the mobile-device market in the quarter.



    The handset maker said it shipped about 10.5 million devices during the period, of which more than half were smartphones.



    The company said it expects to complete its transaction with Mountain View, California-based Google early this year. Motorola fell 0.4 percent to $38.30 in extended trading, after closing at $38.46. The shares rose (MMI) 33 percent last year. The company plans to report earnings on Jan. 26.



  • Reply 16 of 60
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member
    And the pendulum swings again. I can't see anyone scoring a total home run in this patent war. Everyone should put their iPeckers and DroidPeckers back in their pants and negotiate peacefully rather than pissfully.
  • Reply 17 of 60
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 703member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    In any event, the logic here is bogus.

    1. "It was only a modest infringement, so it's OK"

    and

    2. "Apple has lots of money, so they don't deserve patent protection"



    i think you forgot:

    "The six-member commission... had finished a partial review of the case's initial determination..."



    what's with the partial review shit?
  • Reply 18 of 60
    done...another wast of time ends with no benefit. Apple just needs to let this stupidity go.
  • Reply 19 of 60
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by agramonte View Post


    done...another wast of time ends with no benefit. Apple just needs to let this stupidity go.



    Yeah, don't bother defending and protecting your stuff at all. That's pointless.



    On an unrelated note, have you ever created anything? I'm in the market for ripping things off wholesale, and I'd like to get a jump on the proper stuff.
  • Reply 20 of 60
    I like it better when Slash Lane or DED writes these things. Instead of dry legal facts, he'll use terms like "war", "battle", and "troops"

    </sarcasm-mode>
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