US International Trade Commission sides with Apple in Motorola patent case

In late 2010, a Motorola complaint against Apple spurred what has been a long-lived legal squabble between the two companies, something Google has been on the losing end of. Earlier today, the U.S. International Trade Commission sided with Apple in a case started by Motorola over a sensor patent. Google sought to have certain varieties of the iPhone that used the patent's feature blocked in the US, but instead the patent was invalidated.

U.S. Patent No. 6,246,862 concerns a patent related to technology that keeps your smartphone from accidentally opening an application when near your body or hanging up when it touches your cheek during a call. Judge Pender had invalidated it, saying – according to FOSS Patents – that an earlier Motorola patent caused it to lack novelty.

The ITC didn't agree that the older patent made the one in question invalid, but that it instead made the patent "obvious" when combined with a secondary patent or common general knowledge. Google can now appeal, but in doing so will need to argue against a variety of defenses, including the reasons specified by the ITC. According to Bloomberg, Google is disappointed about the decision and is considering its next step.

This is the last patent-in-suit remaining from the legal spat initiated years ago, making it particularly notable. The decision follows one on Friday by the Mannheim Regional Court in Germany that Google can't get an injunction against Microsoft because of the push notification patent it holds, with the court ruling that Google must give Microsoft a license under a different licensing agreement.

[via FOSS Patents]