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Court backs Apple in patent fight with Google

Friday, 10 Jan 2014 | 2:19 PM ET

Apple does not use patented technology owned by Google unit Motorola Mobility in making its iPhones, an appeals court said on Friday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a decision by the International Trade Commission in April that Apple did not violate a Google patent to make the popular iPhone.

The smartphone industry has seen dozens of lawsuits on several continents as Apple vies for market share with companies that make smartphones using Google's Android software.

Motorola Mobility accused Apple in 2010 of infringing on six of its patents covering technology such as reducing signal noise and programming the device's touch screen so a user's head does not accidentally activate it while talking on the phone. The ITC ruled in April 2013 that Apple did not violate any of the six. The appeals court addressed just one of the six patents.

Google acquired the patents in the case - and the lawsuit - when it purchased Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in 2012, partly for its library of telecommunications patents.

Google's Android software, which the company lets handset makers use for free, has become the world's No. 1 smartphone operating system, ahead of the iOS software used on Apple iPhones.

The ITC, a U.S. trade panel that investigates patent infringement involving imported goods, is a popular venue for patent lawsuits because it can bar the importation of infringing products and because it issues decisions relatively quickly.

The case at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is Motorola Mobility LLC v. International Trade Commission and Apple, Inc. The case is No. 2012-1666.

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