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ITC Says Apple Did Not Infringe Motorola Patent in Initial Determination

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   By Ian Sherr 
 

SAN FRANCISCO--The International Trade Commission said in an initial ruling that Apple Inc. (AAPL) did not infringe a Google Inc. (GOOG) patent, notching another victory for the iPhone maker in its protracted legal battles.

Administrative Law Judge Thomas Pender said in a brief statement Tuesday that Apple did not infringe a patent for touch technology held by Google's Motorola unit.

The ruling, which is known as an initial determination, can be referred to the larger ITC panel for a final decision. The ITC is capable of blocking imports of products it finds has infringed patents.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The ruling is the latest in Apple's ongoing patent battles with Google's Motorola unit, which have crisscrossed courtrooms across the globe with mixed results.

In February, Apple briefly suspended sales of some of its mobile devices in Germany after Motorola enforced an injunction that a judge there had granted. Motorola has also received injunctions against some of Apple's other products, such as a component of its iCloud and "Mobile Me" data synchronization services which keep copies of address book entries, calendar appointments and photographs similar across multiple devices.

But Motorola has not yet been able to score a win with a U.S. court or the International Trade Commission.

Meanwhile, Apple has notched several wins against other competitors, including decisions against HTC Corp. (HCXF, 2498.TW) and Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.SE, SSNHY). In the case of the former, Apple eventually agreed to a wide-ranging settlement, ending all legal efforts between the two companies.

Apple's battles with Samsung are still ongoing, however. In August, a California jury handed Apple more than $1 billion in damages after a trial in which the Cupertino, Calif., gadget maker said Samsung's products, including some of its popular "Galaxy" line of devices, had infringed its patents. On Monday, the presiding judge ruled that the jury's decision would stand, though she declined to issue injunctions against the infringing devices, noting that many of them are either no longer for sale or have since been altered.

 

Write to Ian Sherr at ian.sherr@dowjones.com

 

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 18, 2012 17:11 ET (22:11 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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