The International Trade Commission (ITC) handed a victory to Apple on Tuesday, ruling that Apple didn't infringe on a patent owned by Motorola Mobility. Administrative Law Judge Thomas Pender also ruled that the patent in question is invalid, making possible infringement problematic.
Bloomberg reported that the ruling pertains to a proximity sensor, and that this is the second time Judge Pender has ruled that Apple does not infringe the patent. As with other ITC cases, this is just a preliminary ruling. Judge Pender's decision will be reviewed by the full panel of ITC judges at a later date.
Details of the ruling, including the reason the patent was found invalid, were not released by the ITC as the case still has far to go.
“We’re disappointed with this outcome and are evaluating our options,” Jennifer Erickson, a spokeswoman for Motorola Mobility, told Bloomberg.
In October, Google withdrew a separate ITC claim against Apple just two weeks after the ITC agreed to hear the case. In August, the Commission ruled that Apple did not violate three other patents held by Moto.
While we're at it, earlier on Tuesday Apple was denied an import ban on Samsung devices for that company's patent infringement, while Samsung's motion for jury misconduct was also rejected. In Europe, Samsung agreed to drop requests for import bans against Apple based on standards-essential patents (SEPs), but is still pursuing damages and licensing agreements for those patents.