A judge for the US International Trade Commission (ITC) [official website] ruled on Tuesday that Motorola Mobility, a subsidiary of Google may not assert a patent claim against Apple [corporate websites] regarding a sensor that prevents phone users from dialing the wrong number on touchscreens. Motorola Mobility filed a lawsuit [ITC backgrounder, PDF] against Apple in May, alleging that Apple infringed on its touchscreen sensor patent. In August the ITC ruled [Reuters report] that Apple had not infringed on several of Motorola's other patents. The same judge held on Tuesday that Motorola's touchscreen patent infringement claim was invalid. A full panel of the ITC is scheduled to review Tuesday's ruling soon.
The ITC has been deeply involved in smartphone patent litigation recently. Two weeks ago, Swedish telecom company Ericsson [corporate website] filed a complaint [JURIST report] with the ITC against Samsung [corporate website] seeking an import ban on Samsung's Galaxy line of products. In October the ITC ruled [JURIST report] that Samsung violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 [text; ITC backgrounder] when it infringed four intellectual property patents held by Apple. In September an ITC judge declared [JURIST report] that Apple products do not infringe on Samsung patents. In May the ITC found [JURIST report] that Motorola phones infringe on a patent held by Microsoft. In August Motorola filed a lawsuit with the ITC alleging [JURIST report] that Apple infringed on seven of its patents.