The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled Wednesday that the International Trade Commission (ITC) [official websites] erred while reviewing Apple and Google [corporate websites] patents related to the iPhone and Android systems. Specifically, the court held that the ITC applied an inappropriate standard of review when it invalidated one Apple patent regarding touch screen technology and found that Google's Motorola Mobility did not violate a similar patent. The court thus affirmed the decision [text, PDF] in part, reversed in part, and vacated in part. The court returned the issues to the ITC with instructions to apply different legal standards. The court's in-depth analysis of the creation history of both systems relied heavily on the issues of "obviousness" of the evolutionary path of technology. A date for the renewed ITC proceedings has not yet been set.
Apple has also been involved in a protracted patent litigation battle [JURIST op-ed] with Samsung [corporate website] that spans over four continents. The two companies have been engaged in patent litigation since 2010, each filing lawsuits against the other over the design and functionality of their devices. Last week the Obama administration overturned [official text, PDF] a US trade panel ban on the sale of older iPads and iPhones. In June the Tokyo District Court ruled for Apple [JURIST report] in a patent infringement suit. Similarly in March a UK court also ruled for Apple permitting continued use of technology [JURIST report] that allows transfers of information over the third-generation networks that are used by smartphones. In January a Dutch court ruled that the designs of some Galaxy Tab models produced by Samsung do not infringe designs patented by Apple [JURIST report].