Motorola surprisingly withdraws Apple complaint from ITC

The Google unit had filed the complaint in August over seven patents. There still remains another complaint with the ITC.

Roger Cheng
Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
Expertise Mobile, 5G, Big Tech, Social Media Credentials SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.

Motorola Mobility, a unit of Google, yesterday withdrew a complaint against Apple -- its second one -- from the U.S. International Trade Commission.

The complaint involved the infringement of seven non-essential standards patents that Motorola accused Apple of violating, according to Foss Patents, which first spotted the move.

It's a surprise move given the trend of escalating legal battles between Apple and its various opponents, from Samsung Electronics to Motorola.

What's surprising is Motorola just filed the complaint in August, and there isn't any reason given for the withdrawal. Two weeks ago, the ITC said it would look at the complaint.

A withdrawal could signal a possible resolution to the conflict between Motorola and Apple, but Foss Patent's Florian Mueller, a legal consultant, noted that the filling, which became public today, explicitly states that there are no agreements between the two parties.

Mueller floated the idea that Motorola withdrew its complaint after Administrative Law Judge Theodore Essex began looking at the case, noting that Judge Essex often puts up a high bar for complaints.

"Maybe it's not just a coincidence that Motorola withdrew its complaint shortly after his appointment," he said in his blog.

CNET has contacted Motorola and Apple for comment. We'll update the story when the companies respond.

Apple remains embroiled in legal entanglements with several Android vendors. Samsung, for instance, filed its lawsuit against Apple to include the iPhone 5 in its complaint, while a judge dismissed a U.S. ban on the Galaxy Tab 10.1.