Ina Fried

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Appeals Court Revives Apple’s Multitouch Patent Case Against Google’s Motorola

Apple’s good fortunes with the International Trade Commission continued this week as a federal appeals court revived a lawsuit that the company had brought against Google’s Motorola over the use of multitouch interfaces.


The appeals court overturned the ITC’s move to dismiss the suit entirely, saying some of Apple’s claims should be heard and the definition of certain patents should be construed differently. It wasn’t a total victory for Apple, but the move does mean there will be further consideration of the case.

Legal geeks should feel free to read the entire 37-page ruling, embedded below for your convenience.

This ruling follows a weekend move by the Obama administration to stop an ITC import ban against some iPhones and iPads that the commission had ordered in a case involving Apple and Samsung.

Update, 12:30 pm PT: Motorola offered a particularly glass-a-little-bit-full take on the ruling.

“Today’s decision paves the way for the ITC to find that Apple’s remaining claims are invalid and that our products don’t infringe,” a Motorola representative said in a statement. “Meanwhile, we’ll stay focused on delivering great new phones that people love.”

While the overall ruling was a split decision, one judge dissented particularly strongly on Apple’s behalf, arguing its multitouch work was worthy of strong protection.

“The asserted patent in this case is an invention that has propelled not just technology, but also dramatically altered how humans across the globe interact and communicate,” Federal Circuit Judge Jimmie Reyna said in a separate opinion from the majority. “It marks true innovation.”

ITC ruling reviving Apple's multitouch patent case against Motorola

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik