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Motorola didn't violate Apple patents, says trade body

The International Trade Commission has ruled Motorola's Droid smart phones don't violate Apple patents, in another setback for Apple.

The International Trade Commission (ITC) has dealt another blow to Apple's legal challenge, by ruling that Motorola's smart phones don't violate the Cupertino company's patents, CNET reports.

It's only a preliminary ruling, and needs to be approved by the ITC's full six-member commission. But still, considering Google is planning to buy Motorola, it doesn't bode well for Apple's legal offensive against Android.

The complaints go back to October 2010, when Apple lodged them along with two lawsuits. They relate to the Motorola Droid (known as the Milestone around these parts), Droid 2 (Milestone 2), Droid X, as well as some other handsets and software it claims violates its patents. Apple was perhaps just returning fire, seeing as it followed Motorola's complaint that Apple was violating 18 of its own patents relating to mobile devices. Can't we all just get along?

Scott Offer, senior vice president and general counsel of Motorola Mobility, said in a statement: "We are pleased with today's favourable outcome for Motorola Mobility. Motorola Mobility has worked hard over the years to develop technology and build an industry-leading intellectual property portfolio. We are proud to leverage this broad and deep portfolio to create differentiated innovations that enhance the user experience."

This is just the latest battle in the war between Apple and Google's Android. Steve Jobs said he wanted to wage "thermonuclear war" on Android, referring to it as a stolen product. Apple won a minor victory against HTC last month, though it seems it'll have no effect, and HTC was actually quite pleased with the outcome.

The war is more heated between Apple and Samsung, with Apple succeeding in banning Sammy's Galaxy Tab in Europe and Australia -- though the Australian decision was overturned. Oh, and Samsung redesigned the Tabto get around the ban in Europe.

It seems lately that Apple can't get a break. What do you think about these legal wrangles? Let us know below, or over on our Facebook page.