ITC Judge Smacks Down Google in Patent Suit Against Apple
December 19, 2012 10:06 AM
comment(s) - last by
Patent could have been used to carry out an import ban on the iPhone
Google Inc. (
) received a blow on Tuesday when
U.S. International Trade Commission
Administrative Law Judge Thomas Pender ruled that a patent on proximity sensor behavior belonging to Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility was invalid.
U.S. Patent No. 6,246,862
is one of six utility patents Google
try to ban import
of Apple, Inc.'s (
) iPhone smartphone and iPad tablet. Motorola spokeswoman Jennifer Weyrauch-Erickson in a
remarked, "We're disappointed with this outcome and are evaluating our options."
Apple and Google are both keen to convince the ITC that the other infringes on its intellectual property, as their suits/countersuits have already been dismissed with prejudice from federal courts three times. In other words the ITC is likely both companies' last hope at banning each others' products in the U.S.
The ITC had previously ruled that three other patents in the case were either invalid or were not infringed upon by Apple products. That leaves only two patents Apple may have infringed upon. The full panel of judges assigned to the case will review these preliminary conclusions and make a final decision on whether to accept or reject Motorola Mobility's request for injunctive relief (a ban on Apple imports).
Google is seeking to ban virtually all Apple's devices [Image Source: Apple]
Google purchase Motorola Mobility in April 2011
for $12.5B USD
. The purchase was
completed earlier this year
, after it was finally greenlighted by regulators in China.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
12/19/2012 5:07:07 PM
the issue is that the "sensor" is not adequately defined
Good, now we know the standard. So a "sensor" isn't good enough, apparently we needed to state specifically "light sensor".
I'll have to remember this when Samsung's $1B case is appeal is heard.
12/21/2012 8:19:09 AM
It looks pretty clear to me from the patent wording that a proximity sensor was the intended sensor, not a light sensor. Besides, a light sensor would turn off the touch-sensitive interface in the dark. Now if Apple used a touch-sensitive sensor rather than a proximity sensor, that would be a different method of implementing the same concept, albeit less effective in real-world usage, since not everyone puts their ear to the phone in the same place, or even at all.
Still, I'm okay with this patent being invalidated for being obvious, or maybe for being overly broad, as long as a similar standard is upheld in all cases. I'm just not confident that that will happen.
"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
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