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ITC Says Apple Violated Motorola 3G Patents

(CN) - Motorola won a partial victory over Apple when an administrative law judge at the International Trade Commission found that Apple had infringed on two of Motorola's wireless transmission patents. The decision could lead to a ban on sales of some Apple devices in the United States.

Motorola Mobility filed a complaint with the ITC in October 2010, alleging that some Apple products, including late-model iPhones and iPads, infringed on six of its patents for data transmission in wireless communications systems.

By the time the case reached the hearing phase in late November 2011, the original administrative law judge assigned to the investigation had retired, two of the patents had been dropped from the case and the parties had filed more than 1,600 pages of briefs.

After six days of hearings in December and many post-hearing submissions, ALJ Thomas Pender found that Apple had violated two of the four patents.

The first patent relates to reduction of signal noise during transmission of voice and data, thus reducing interference with other mobile devices.

The second covers a method of allowing mobile devices to access transmission channels by waiting a short time before trying to connect to previously busy channels.

Motorola had filed complaints in Federal Court against Apple for infringement of both patents and had reached an agreement with Research In Motion over its alleged infringement of the second patent.

Judge Pender found that Apple had not violated the other patents in the original complaint, or that Motorola's claims were not valid.

As is customary, Pender's initial determination was released only in summary, pending review by Motorola and Apple to determine if any proprietary information must be redacted before public release.

The ITC commissioners must decide whether to adopt Pender's determination, and if so, whether a ban on sales of the infringing devices is warranted.

ITC decisions are reviewed by the president of the United States and can be appealed only to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

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