“In one of the most surprising developments in the ongoing smartphone patent disputes, Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility has just withdrawn its second ITC complaint against Apple,” Florian Mueller reports for FOSS Patents. “The complaint was filed in mid-AugustY (a week before the Apple v. Samsung billion-dollar jury verdict) over seven non-standard-essential patents. Two weeks ago, the ITC announced its expected decision to formally investigate the complaint.”

“I have checked on the dockets of a couple of federal lawsuits pending between the parties, and there are no signs of withdrawals or an impending settlement there,” Mueller reports.

“This could still be a unilateral goodwill gesture on Google’s part toward Apple if high-level settlement talks are progressing well. But it could also be a tactical decision involving a plan to reassert the same claims in a federal court,” Mueller reports. “For now I think it’s more likely than not that Google identified some reasons for which this complaint was unlikely to succeed at the ITC, and that its overall fight with Apple is continuing as usual. Withdrawals at such a very early stage of an investigation are really unusual — two weeks into an investigation that was scheduled to take at least 16 months.”

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“The case being withdrawn accused Apple of infringing seven Motorola Mobility patents on features including interactive voice commands, location reminders, e-mail notification and phone/video players,” Susan Decker reports for Bloomberg. “Motorola Mobility, which Google bought in May, said in August it hoped the filing of the suit — and the threat against Apple’s iPhone — would push the two sides into settlement talks.”

“Another case is pending at the Washington trade agency, which has the power to block imports of products that infringe U.S. patents,” Decker reports. “The commission on Aug. 24 cleared Apple of infringing three Motorola Mobility patents, and told the judge to consider whether a fourth patent, for a sensor to protect against accidental hangups, was infringed.”

Decker reports, “ITC Judge Thomas Pender, in an order dated yesterday, said he will make a decision by Dec. 21 on that issue.”

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Related article:
U.S. ITC decides to investigate Google’s Motorola Mobility patent complaint against Apple – September 18, 2012