Everything started back in October 2010 when Motorola initially sued Apple for alleged infringement of 18 patents; it was then Apple’s turn to fight back and sue Motorola in two lawsuits over six multi-touch patents.
ITC has made a preliminary ruling and it doesn’t seem to hold Motorola responsible for infringing three Apple patents. There are three patents in case: two less important ones (“an object-oriented system locator system” and “an ellipse fitting for multi-touch surfaces”) and an essential one basically used by Apple in its cases against Samsung (“multipoint touchscreen”).
According to Florian Mueller, the essential patent “is the broadest touchscreen-related hardware patent Apple has, and if the courts interpreted it as broadly as Apple would like them to, it would be extremely hard to work around”. This patent also has international equivalents based on which Cupertino managed to score a preliminary injunction in an Australian court.
The ITC ruling in case is a preliminary one. Apple will definitely file a petition for a review, in which case the six-member Commission at the very top of ITC will take a closer look and probably make a final ruling due on May 14. However, even if the current ruling is a preliminary one, it could affect Apple’s other lawsuits which imply and are based on the multipoint touchscreen patent, such as the case against Samsung.
Source: FOSS Patents