Preliminary ITC ruling holds Apple to infringe FRAND-pledged standard-essential Motorola patent

“Today, Administrative Law Judge Thomas B. Pender gave notice of his initial determination on the investigation of Motorola’s October 2010 complaint against Apple. Out of four patents asserted at this stage of the investigation, Apple was found to infringe one — and that one is a FRAND-pledged standard-essential patent,” Florian Mueller reports for FOSS Patents.

“I’m sure both parties will appeal the parts of the ruling that are unfavorable to them. In statistical terms, Motorola was less successful with this preliminary ruling than with yesterday’s initial determination on its complaint against Microsoft (holding four out of five patents violated), but in the words of one of Motorola’s own expert reports filed with courts in the U.S. and in Germany, ‘it only takes one bullet to kill’ when standard-essential patents are involved,” Mueller reports. “And the patent that Judge Pender deems violated, U.S. Patent No. 6,246,697, was declared essential (by Motorola itself) to the 3G standard (UMTS, and in particular, its CDMA part). If both initial determinations on Motorola’s complaints were turned into final rulings and resulted (which I don’t think is going to happen in either case) in import bans, this one patent could be enough to prevent Apple from importing any iPhones and 3G-capable iPads into the United States.”

Mueller writes, “At this stage I believe that Motorola won’t actually get to prevent Apple from importing iPhones and 3G-capable iPads into the United States [even] if Judge Pender’s preliminary holdings became the final decision.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Apple is in violation because it refused to pay Motorola’ license fee demands.

    FRAND stands for FAIR, REASONABLE, and NON-DISCRIMINATORY. Motorola’s interpretation of Fair and Reasonable would have Apple paying 10X as much as anyone else licensing the same patents. This will come down to a negotiated settlement, because Apple’s suits against Motorola are not FRAND, and potentially more damaging to them.

    1. Google are buying Motorola Mobility, which is part of Motorola. The deal is progressing but not yet complete. MM will operate as its own entity within Google. The purchase was approved on February 13th in the USA and Europe. I don’t know what’s holding up final acquisition. It’s typically banks and lawyers.

  2. Nice headline MDN, no one else mentions FRAND , which is key, because Apple tried to negotiate fair pricing with Matorola, but couldn’t get it. Now the courts will probably force FAIR pricing on Motorola because it’s a FRAND patent.

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