ITC Shoots Down Motorola’s iPhone & iPad Ban Request

The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled against awarding Motorola Mobility an import ban on Apple’s iPhone and iPad Friday afternoon. The agency said Apple didn’t violate three of the four patents included in the complaint, and called for an investigation on the fourth.

The three patents the ITC ruled Apple isn’t violating with its iOS devices are all considered standards essential, while the fourth, which describes a sensor controlled user interface for portable devices, is not.

ITC: No iPhone ban for MotorolaITC: No iPhone ban for Motorola

Administrative Law Judge Thomas B. Pender found “claim one of that patent indefinite and, as a result, not violated. The ITC has reversed his indefiniteness finding,” Florian Mueller of Foss Patents said. “As a result, there could (but need not) be a finding of a violation with respect to this patent, and an import ban.”

The end result is that, at least for now, Motorola Mobility isn’t going to be able to force Apple to stop selling the iPhone and iPad over these patent infringement claims.

Motorola Mobility filed a second ITC complaint against Apple several days ago over claims that the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers infringe on a voice control patent it holds. The electronics maker also claimed that Apple is infringing on its patents with its location-based reminders, mobile video players, and email notification systems. None of those patents are considered standards essential.

The ITC ruling comes on the heals of a big victory for Apple in its patent infringement lawsuit with Samsung. Jurors in that case awarded Apple over US$1 billion for infringing on Apple’s mobile device patents, while awarding Samsung nothing other than a kick in the pants.

The jurors ruled that nearly every Samsung device mentioned in the case violated Apple’s patents, except for the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets.

Samsung will most likely appeal the ruling in hopes of getting a more favorable verdict.

The ITC’s investigation into the remaining patent infringement claim from Motorola Mobility could take up to a year before it is completed.