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Sunday, 15 January 2012 11:49

Motorola scores initial victory in Apple patent battle

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Motorola Mobility has scored an initial victory over Apple in an intellectual property dispute in which Apple alleged that Motorola had violated three of its patents relating to smartphones.

Motorola Mobility - which is being acquired by Google and so will soon be at the core of the rival Android ecosystem - announced on 13 January that the Administrative Law Judge in the US International Trade Commission (ITC) had issued a initial determination finding no violation for any of the three Apple patents listed in Apple's suit.

The victory could however be short-lived. The decision can be reviewed, on request by the six member decision making body at the head of the ITC, and a decision would be due in mid May.

Commenting on the outcome, patents blogger Florian Mueller, identified the most important patent of the three patents as being US Patent No 7,663,607 on a 'multipoint touchscreen'.

"The '607 patent is the broadest touchscreen-related hardware patent Apple has, and if the courts interpreted it as broadly as Apple would like them to, it would be extremely hard to work around," he said.

It is also one of the two patents under which Apple was able, temporarily, to have the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in Australia. According to Mueller: "Even though this ITC ruling is only preliminary, it can adversely affect Apple's lawsuits against Samsung in which the multipoint touchscreen patent is being asserted."

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