Business

Appeals court: Apple hasn’t infringed on Motorola smartphone patents

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A U.S. appeals court has ruled that Apple hasn’t infringed a mobile phone patent filed by Motorola. The patent in question details methods “for controlling a delivery of data from a fixed portion of the wireless communication system to a subscriber unit.” In layman’s terms, it ensures that data being fed to your mobile device’s apps behaves properly.

Remember that Apple v. Motorola squabble? There were plenty, but this particular case dates back to 2012: shortly after Google acquired Motorola, it filed a patent infringement suit that attempted to ban the import of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch into the U.S.

Seven patents were brought before the U.S. International Trade Commission, and six claims were quashed. Today’s ruling closes that chapter, with a three-judge panel ruling that the ITC was correct in denying Motorola’s claims. You can read their decision here (PDF). Bloomberg reports that the patent in this case has also been asserted against Microsoft.

This likely isn’t the end of Apple and Google’s patent squabbles, though. Approximately half of the $12.4 billion Google paid for Motorola was spent on the handset maker’s intellectual property, but the more than 17,000 patents Google acquired haven’t exactly racked up legal victories. Back in 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Posner tossed out a rather heated patent dispute between Apple and Motorola Mobility, stating that “neither party is entitled to an injunction” because both sides “failed to present enough evidence to create a triable issue.”

Meanwhile, Apple scheduled mediation session with another rival, Samsung, is on the horizon, and that could — in an idyllic world — lead to a settlement between the two tech giants. With any luck, the rest of the industry will follow suit, and then they can all get back to the business of innovating.

Let’s not hold our breath, though.


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