Motorola loses proximity sensor patent case vs Apple

4

motorola-logo

In the ongoing patent battles that are never-ending, Motorola Mobility and more importantly its parent company Google were dealt a final loss by the ITC to a drawn-out case that dates back to 2010. Initially, Motorola had argued to the International Trade Commission that Apple had infringed on 18 of its patents and sought a ban on all iPhone imports. Note that because of the age of the case, this was would have only covered the iPhone 4.

Previously siding with Apple on the other patents, the ITC upheld an earlier ruling in December by presiding administrative law judge Thomas Pender that Apple had not violated the final patent of the case, Motorola’s proximity sensor patent 6,246,862. Not only that, the ITC agreed with Pender who stated that the patent was invalid altogether, but for different reasons. Pender said, “it is invalid because it isn’t different enough from earlier inventions” whereas the ITC said, “the concept was too obvious to merit patent protection”.

The proximity sensor patent in question would dim and disable a touchscreen’s display and functionality during a call so one wouldn’t “ear dial” and hit a bunch of buttons during a call. I think of this as a standard feature on all touchscreen-enabled phones, but in 1999 someone at Motorola thought of a proximity sensor first, pre-dating the iPhone by eight years. It’s crazy how these things work out sometimes considering Apple was granted a patent on something inane as “a rectangle with round corners” and a working piece of hardware like a proximity sensor was deemed not quite unique enough.

Motorola Patent US6246862

Yeah, this oldie goes back to 1999.

Source: Ars TechnicaBloomberg

About the Author

Zach Coma
Android is more than an obsession, it's a lifestyle. My daily drivers are a Nexus 5 and OG Transformer; I've retired (and sold) an HTC One (M7), EVO LTE, and EVOg, all of which have served my flashing addiction well. By day I work for the man doing things in AutoCAD and MicroStation and by night I'm an Android Insomniac, always looking for the latest way to mess up my phone. In addition to my endless Android proselytizing, you'll find me working on my cars; rocking out on my guitars; listening to death metal; endlessly obsessing about politics, history, and economics; fixing grammar and spelling mistakes (defender of the Oxford comma & single sentence spacing); and reading up on all things science and tech. There's not enough time in the day to always satisfy all of my addictions, hopefully you'll enjoy what I have to share regarding one of them. For more about me: https://en.gravatar.com/zachcoma

  • kojack

    Just goes to show how the patent system is payed off by apple. A rectangle can be patented because its unique, but a definitive technology developed in 1999 by one company is one hundred percent, a general technology that has no merit for a patent. I just love this system. Face to palm. And…..f#*k apple.

  • kojack

    Just goes to show how the patent system is payed off by apple. A rectangle can be patented because its unique, but a definitive technology developed in 1999 by one company is one hundred percent, a general technology that has no merit for a patent. I just love this system. Face to palm. And…..$%*k apple.

  • thatsAllFolks

    Yup. Sounds about normal. Apple and Microsoft can do no wrong, and everyone else besides all the ITC judges who have stock in Apple, gets screwed. The system is so bent on making sure that Motorola can’t use any of their patents against Apple since Google owns it, even things that are right to be able to defend they’re not going to let Motorola win anything. Not even the least thing.

  • thatsAllFolks

    I would bet the farm that if this were an apple patent not only would they win, but they would be granted an abnormally insane amount of back pay, they’d have ALL the phones made with Android banned, etc etc.

© 2013  AndroidSPIN. All rights reserved.
A Subsidiary of MobileTweek Inc.