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Apple loses ITC ruling against Motorola Mobility in patent infringement case


Florian Mueller over at FOSS Patents noted yesterday that Apple's patent infringement case against Motorola Mobility has been dealt a nearly fatal blow in the courts of the United States International Trade Commission (ITC).

The suit alleged that Motorola Mobility was infringing on three Apple patents: one all-important patent for a multipoint touchscreen, an "object-oriented system locator system" patent, and a patent for an "ellipse fitting for multi-touch surfaces." The ITC's preliminary ruling in January found no proof that Moto was infringing on Apple's patents, and Friday's final ruling (PDF) upheld the initial finding.

That doesn't make this the end of the road for Apple in the fight against Motorola Mobility. In fact, Mueller notes that the company will most likely appeal the decision in a U.S. Federal Circuit Court, as it is doing with another ITC ruling that found in favor of smartphone manufacturer HTC. There is a much better chance that the Federal Courts will overturn the ITC ruling, but Mueller says that this will take a significant amount of time.

Smartphone-related patent infringement claims at the ITC tend to have a very high drop-out rate, so many manufacturers are now taking cases to German courts for "fast and furious" decisions. Mueller notes that the courts in Munich and Mannheim are twice as speedy as the ITC, and patent holders like Apple often win favorable rulings. This explains Apple's reasoning in taking a number of other patent infringement complaints to the German courts for swift rulings that result in injunctions on sales of new products.

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