U.S. ITC to investigate Apple at Motorola's request

The International Trade Commission says it will look into certain iPhones, iPods, iPads, and Macs to determine if they infringe patents.

The U.S. International Trade Commission is taking a deeper look into Apple's most popular products.

The organization today announced that it will investigate certain Apple iPhones, iPods, iPads, and Macs, after Motorola requested the inquiry last month.

In the motion filed last month, Motorola asked the ITC to determine if Apple's products violate section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 by infringing patents the company claims to hold. If the devices are found to have violated Motorola's patents, the company has asked the ITC to issue exclusion and cease-and-desist orders against Apple's products.

Motorola's motion came a week before the ITC ruled that Apple did not violate three Motorola patents covering 3G wireless technology. A fourth patent was sent back to administrative law Judge Thomas Pender to determine if Apple violated it in its mobile products. However, it could take over a year before the judge makes a decision on the matter. After that, the judgement will be sent back to the ITC panel.

This latest investigation into Apple's devices won't yield any final results anytime soon. The ITC will need to assign the case to one of its administrative law judges, who will then schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. After that, the judge will make an initial determination, which will then be reviewed by the ITC's panel of judges. Even then, a final determination might not be arrived at, and in most cases, it takes several months to even come close to hitting that point.

CNET has contacted both Apple and Motorola for comment on the investigation. We will update this story when we have more information.

This story has been updated throughout the morning.

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