Following the verdict in the Apple vs. Samsung trial today, where Samsung was found guilty of infringing various Apple patents related to the case, Apple is also coming out a winner, at least temporarily, in Google/Motorola’s attempt to block imports of iPhones and iPads to the United States.
In late June, we told you about Google’s attempt to block U.S. imports of iPhones and iPads based on a previous ruling that Apple infringed on one standard-essential Motorola patent. The initial ruling was under review by the ITC, which has power to block U.S. imports of Apple devices from Asia, with a decision expected at a hearing scheduled for today.
The ITC has now concluded its review (via paid blogger FossPatents), finding no violations for three of the four patents in the initial suit (including the one mentioned above), but remanded an investigation on a fourth, non-standard essential patent to Judge Thomas Pender. The result? According to FossPatents, there might be a violation and import ban related to the patent, but a remand and ITC review could take up to a year:
Apple was cleared with respect to three of Motorola’s patents-in-suit, including the aforementioned standard-essential one. But with respect to U.S. Patent No. 6,246,862 on a “sensor controlled user interface for portable communication device”, a non-standard-essential patent, the investigation was remanded to Administrative Law Judge Thomas B. Pender. The judge had found claim 1 of that patent indefinite and, as a result, not violated. The ITC has reversed his indefiniteness finding. As a result, there could (but need not) be a finding of a violation with respect to this patent, and an import ban… An initial determination made by a judge on remand is again subject to a Commission review. All in all, a remand can easily take a year
The ITC was also expected to address its stance on whether the use of import bans in cases related to industry standard patents should be limited. FossPatents noted, “Since the remaining patent-in-suit is not standard-essential, the ITC does not have to take a position in connection with this investigation on the issue of import bans over standard-essential patents.”
Last week, Google filed a new patent lawsuit against Apple with the ITC claiming Apple violated seven patents with various iOS devices and Macs. According to reports, the patents relate to features in Apple devices such as Siri, push email notifications, media playback on phones, and location-based reminders.