ITC tosses Motorola's legal complaint against Apple

The International Trade Commission has tossed out Motorola's patent case against Apple, saying its proximity sensor patent is invalid.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn

The U.S. International Trade Commission today ended Motorola's case against Apple, which accused the iPhone and Mac maker of patent infringement.

In a ruling (PDF), the ITC said that Apple was not violating Motorola's U.S. patent covering proximity sensors, which the commission called "obvious." It was the last of six patents Motorola aimed at Apple as part of an October 2010 complaint.

That complaint was part of a larger legal effort by Motorola against Apple that also involved patent lawsuits in several U.S. District courts.

The decision follows a long series of determinations, reviews, and petitions, as well as a change in ownership of Motorola, which Google acquired last May. An administrative law judge initially found Apple to be violating one of the patents, but that decision was reviewed, and an ITC judge found the patent invalid. Motorola later requested that decision be reviewed once again.

Technology companies in recent years have increasingly turned to the ITC to settle their disputes. Companies can pursue an ITC case in parallel with civil lawsuits, and the threat of an embargo on products typically forces companies to settle more quickly.

Apple declined to comment on the decision. CNET has contacted Motorola for comment and will update this post when we know more.

(via FOSS Patents)