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Apple wins smartphone sensor patent case against Google

Google may appeal against USITC’s ruling to the federal circuit court.

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) has ruled that Apple did not violated a patent callled ‘sensor controlled user interface for a portable communication device’ owned by Google’s Motorola Mobility unit.

In its filing, Google allgeged that Apple infringed smartphone sensor patent by including a proximity sensor, which prevents the touchscreen being accidentally pressed by turning it off when it is held up to the ear, reported the Financial Times.

Google, in a statement, said: “We’re disappointed with this outcome and are evaluating our options.”

Motorola’s complaint against the iPhone was first filed in 2010, before Google moved to acquire Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio in August 2011.

In the event of Apple loosing the case, the USITC could have imposed an import ban against Apple’s flagship device, iPhone.

Earlier, the USITC cleared Apple of infringing three other Motorola patents in August 2012, while Google withdrew a second complaint against Apple in October 2012.

The commission said that Apple had shown “clear and convincing evidence” that Motorola’s claim was “obvious” and so unenforceable.

The closing of Google’s case against Apple raises fresh questions about its $12.5bn acquisition of Motorola Mobility. However, Google has been strengthening its own IP portfolio and deploying the phonemaker’s manufacturing capabilities to support its own smartphone designs.

Last summer, Apple won a case against the South Korean smartphone giant Samsung.