ITC will review Motorola, Apple patent dispute

The administrative law judge had earlier ruled against Motorola

The U.S. International Trade Commission has decided to review a December ruling by an administrative law judge that Apple did not violate a Motorola Mobility patent relating to a sensor controlled user interface for a portable communication device.

The ALJ Thomas B. Pender issued in December his remand initial determination, finding no violation by Apple with respect to U.S. patent 6,246,862 owned by Motorola.

Judge Pender found that the relevant accused products infringe claim 1 of the '862 patent literally and under the doctrine of equivalents, but also declared claim 1 of the patent to be invalid.

The '862 patent refers to the use of a sensor to disable a touch-sensitive input device from being accidentally actuated when it is close to the user.

The commission has decided to review the remand IDs construction of the claim limitation "touch sensitive input device" in claim 1 of the '862 patent, and will also review Judge Pender's other findings that the accused products literally infringe claim 1 of the '862 patent, and that U.S. patent number 6,052,464, also known as the Harris '464 patent, anticipates claim 1 of the '862 patent.

The ITC ruled in August that it did not find a violation with respect to three other Motorola patents. These were U.S. Patent Nos. 6,272,333 ("the '333 patent"); 6,246,697 ("the '697 patent"); and 5,636,223 ("the '223 patent"). It however remanded the investigation to the presiding ALJ with respect to the '862 patent' after it decided to reverse a finding that claim 1 is indefinite.

The Commission instituted the investigation on Nov. 8, 2010, after a complaint from Motorola, which was subsequently acquired by Google. The review could lead to a ban on Apple's infringing products, ITC said.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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