Apple could see U.S. import ban following ITC review of Motorola patent win

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The U.S. International Trade Commission on Monday announced that it will review an April ruling that found certain Apple products to infringe upon a Motorola Wi-Fi patent, possibly leading to an import ban on products utilizing the technology.

The ITC review is the next step in seeking a ban against the offending Apple products, which include the iPhone and iPad, and follows the initial ruling rendered by Judge Thomas Pender in April that deemed the company violated one of four Motorola Mobility patents.

As noted by All Things D, the commission's review is being driven by petitions from both Motorola and Apple concerning claim construction, validity and infringement. Apple is also looking to bring FRAND licensing practices into the case by arguing whether the patent should even be enforced.

As noted in the ITC's review statement, the commission is requesting further information from Motorola on the following FRAND-related matters:
  • If the record of an investigation lacks evidence sufficient to support a RAND-based
    affirmative defense (e.g., equitable estoppel, implied license, waiver, etc.), under what
    circumstances (if any) should a RAND obligation nonetheless preclude issuance of an
    exclusion order?

  • Does the mere existence of a RAND obligation preclude issuance of an exclusion
    order?

  • Should a patent owner that has refused to offer a license to a named respondent in a
    Commission investigation on a RAND obligated patent be able to obtain an exclusion
    order?

  • Should a patent owner that has refused to offer a license on a RAND obligated patent
    to some entity (regardless of whether that entity is a named respondent in a
    Commission investigation) be able to obtain an exclusion order?

  • Should a patent owner that has refused to negotiate a license on RAND terms with a
    named respondent in a Commission investigation be precluded from obtaining an
    exclusion order?

  • Should a patent owner that has refused to negotiate a license on RAND terms with
    some entity (regardless of whether that entity is a named respondent in a Commission
    investigation) be precluded from obtaining an exclusion order?

  • Should a patent owner who has offered a RAND license that the named respondent in
    a Commission investigation has rejected be precluded from obtaining an exclusion
    order?
In raising the FRAND issue, Apple has managed to obtain support from outside parties that have submitted letters to the ITC in favor of the company's argument. The FTC, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Nokia, Verizon, the Business Software Alliance, and the Association for Competitive Technology are among those who filed public statements, a sampling of which can be found here.



At issue is Motorola's U.S. Patent No. 6,246,697 for a "Method and system for generating a complex pseudonoise sequence for processing a code division multiple access signal" was granted in 2001 and describes timing and phase angles for wireless chips to be used in Wi-Fi applications.

Motorola Wi-Fi Patent
Illustration from Motorola's Wi-Fi technology patent. | Source: USPTO


Motorola, now owned by Google, first sued Apple in 2010 for alleged infringement on a range of wireless communications patents. The iPhone maker filed a countersuit with the ITC but the commission ultimately cleared Motorola of any wrongdoing in March.

Along with the '697 patent, the ITC will also review arguments related to the remaining three patents thrown out by Judge Pender during the initial decision, effectively putting all four in the realm of discussion. The six-member commission expects to give a final judgment on Motorola's assertions by August and both Apple and Motorola will release answers to the ITC's questions in the coming weeks.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 65
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 329member


    Perhaps a short import ban will teach Apple to stop filing so many frivolous lawsuits.

     

  • Reply 2 of 65
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,164member


    So one judge (Posner) says that banning a Motorola device would be "catastrophic and hurtful" to users in denying and dismissing both company's lawsuits. Now the ITC might possibly ban Apple products and that would not be catastrophic and hurtful to users? Is that about it?

  • Reply 3 of 65
    mac voyermac voyer Posts: 1,283member
    Good thing Google is above all this patent nonsense. Remember back when they didn't have patents, no one shuld be suing anyone over patents, especially essential patents. Now that they have patents, FIRE EVERYTHING!
  • Reply 4 of 65
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,186member
    darkvader wrote: »
    Perhaps a short import ban will teach Apple to stop filing so many frivolous lawsuits.

     
    Perhaps you don't really care about IP rights here but have another agenda; just perhaps...
  • Reply 5 of 65
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,928member


    Not mentioned is that the ITC review may throw one or more of three Moto patents back into play that Judge Pender deemed either not infringed by Apple or not valid for the case at hand. I don't know if any of those 3 are FRAND-pledged, but with FOSSPatents making no assertion that they are I'm going to guess they are not. I don't think he'd miss a chance to mention it.

  • Reply 6 of 65
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    Wait till Motorola gets your xBox consoles banned in the U.S. as well.

    Then you'll really be feeling the love for them...
  • Reply 7 of 65

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post


    So one judge (Posner) says that banning a Motorola device would be "catastrophic and hurtful" to users in denying and dismissing both company's lawsuits. Now the ITC might possibly ban Apple products and that would not be catastrophic and hurtful to users? Is that about it?



     


     


    The catastrophic nature of the ban is not currently on the table.  I'm not even sure if it is relevant here.

  • Reply 8 of 65
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,928member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GTR View Post



    Wait till Motorola gets your xBox consoles banned in the U.S. as well.

    Then you'll really be feeling the love for them...


    Won't ever happen IMHO. If it came to that the inevitable cross-licensing agreement would come sooner rather than later. That's what this is all about anyway.

  • Reply 9 of 65
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,186member
    lkrupp wrote: »
    So one judge (Posner) says that banning a Motorola device would be "catastrophic and hurtful" to users in denying and dismissing both company's lawsuits. Now the ITC might possibly ban Apple products and that would not be catastrophic and hurtful to users? Is that about it?

    Posner may be all high and mighty but his ruling demonstrates what is wrong with our system. It is the same crap that goes on when somebody kills another in front of witnesses, who is brought in for questioning and they say he didn't understand his rights completely and the the confession he gave them is not usable and they wouldn't have known any other way who saw it if he hadn't spoke up so that is fruit from the poisonous tree and they let the guy walk.

    Posner may see some great law theory here which I'm sure gives him and his law buddies wood but it also ends up shove that same wood where it should never have been.

    Wake up -- he can't see the forest for the trees. I know its all wood but can't you tell the pine freak the oak?
  • Reply 10 of 65
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,186member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Not mentioned is that the ITC review may throw one or more of three Moto patents back into play that Judge Pender deemed either not infringed by Apple or not valid for the case at hand. I don't know if any of those 3 are FRAND-pledged, but with FOSSPatents making no assertion that they are I'm going to guess they are not. I don't think he'd miss a chance to mention it.

    Did you mean Posner -- I don't remember a Pender?
  • Reply 11 of 65
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,928member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post





    Did you mean Posner -- I don't remember a Pender?


    Nope. I mean Thomas Pender. Posner was the Judge in Moto/Microsoft. Tough to keep all these players straight, I know

  • Reply 12 of 65
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,928member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post



    Good thing Google is above all this patent nonsense. Remember back when they didn't have patents, no one shuld be suing anyone over patents, especially essential patents. Now that they have patents, FIRE EVERYTHING!


    I'm guessing that you think Google has initiated some IP infringement cases against one or more of it's mobile competitors? They have not that I'm aware of. This case is an old one filed by Motorola long before Google even showed any interest in them.

  • Reply 13 of 65
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Won't ever happen IMHO. If it came to that the inevitable cross-licensing agreement would come sooner rather than later. That's what this is all about anyway.

    You don't think the same thing will happen with Apple?

    The cool thing about litigation is that it usually just comes down to, not justice, but one party taking money off another.

    Worse case scenario, Apple's got tons of money, and Motorola, a company like many others that focusses on bottom-lines and not top products, will take it.

    Apple continues business unaffected, dinosaur eats man, woman inherits the Earth.
  • Reply 14 of 65
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member


    That's why you don't want judges making the decisions about that sort of thing.  Because the next case comes up to another judge and you get a totally different outcome.  Lack of predictability in the justice system is a very bad thing.

  • Reply 15 of 65
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,928member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GTR View Post





    You don't think the same thing will happen with Apple?

    The cool thing about litigation is that it usually just comes down to, not justice, but one party taking money off another.

    Worse case scenario, Apple's got tons of money, and Motorola, a company like many others that focusses on bottom-lines and not top products, will take it.


    I don't see any reason Apple wouldn't cross-license with Motorola just as they did with Nokia. Both cases involved FRAND-pledged IP, and both had threats of injunctions hanging over them. Apple and Moto, and Moto/MS are just jockeying for position now. I think the courts are catching on to that too.

  • Reply 16 of 65

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GTR View Post





    You don't think the same thing will happen with Apple?

     


     


     


    If Apple really did steal Motorola's IP, then their products should be banned.

  • Reply 17 of 65
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member
    darkvader wrote: »
    Perhaps a short import ban will teach Apple to stop filing so many frivolous lawsuits.

     

    Motorola filed this suit. And if FRAND applies, legally there can't be any bans
  • Reply 18 of 65
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,744member


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DarkVader View Post


    Perhaps a short import ban will teach Apple to stop filing so many frivolous lawsuits.

     




     


     


    Laughable.


     


    Won't happen. 

  • Reply 19 of 65
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,928member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JerrySwitched26 View Post


     


     


    If Apple really did steal Motorola's IP, then their products should be banned.



    IMHO, won't happen for the reasons I stated above. I've no doubt that Apple knows Google holds IP rights they probably need licensing to. Some came from IBM, some from Moto and perhaps a few from other sources. Google well knows that without a license from Apple for some of their IP the lawsuits and business aggravations will continue and some Android licensees will suffer losses. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find there's already been some outreach from both sides on the potential for an agreement and the details that are standing in the way.

  • Reply 20 of 65
    galaxytabgalaxytab Posts: 122member
    quadra 610 wrote: »

    Laughable.

    Won't happen. 

    What professional basis is your claim made under?
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