It looks like one of the ongoing patent battles between Apple and Motorola may finally be nearing an end. As noted by FOSS Patents, the U.S. International Trade Commission today tossed out a case in which Motorola claimed that Apple had infringed upon U.S. Patent No. 6,246,862, which relates to proximity sensor technology. The complaint was originally filed in October 2010 and consisted of several patents spread out over multiple complaints, but it was eventually whittled down to this lone patent.
ITC Judge Thomas Pender ruled late last year that Apple hadn't infringed upon the Motorola patent in question, going on to say that the patent was actually invalid. However, Judge Pender's decision needed to go before the full six-person Commission following the ruling. Now the Commission has reached a similar outcome, meaning that Apple has been found not to infringe and that the case has come to an end. It's not totally over, though, as Motorola has the option of appealing this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
There are a number of different ongoing lawsuits in the mobile world right now, many of them involving the U.S. ITC, but it appears that this particular case between Apple and Motorola may be starting to wind down. It's not yet clear if Motorola plans on appealing to extend the case a bit further, but you can bet that we'll give you a shout if it does. Until then, you can find the ITC's full ruling at the appropriate link below.
"We're disappointed with this outcome and are evaluating our options."