The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled that Apple was in violation of one of Motorola's Wi-Fi patents, which could lead to a US sales ban on Apple devices.
An ITC judge has ruled that Apple was in violation of one of four Motorola Mobility patents. The initial ruling dismisses three other claims by Motorola that accused Apple of similar patent infringement.
The violated patent involves Motorola's 3G technology. A six-member ITC commission now has until August to review Pender's ruling and decide if Apple's infringement warrants a US sales ban on their devices.
The decision marks the first step for Motorola who hopes to block the importation of Apple devices in America on the grounds of patent infringement.
If the ITC commission decides that a ban is warranted the case will go in front US President Obama and an appeals court that specialises in patent law before any embargos are put in place, according to reports.
However, such an embargo seems unlikely according to patent expert Florian Mueller.
"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 if Judge Pender's preliminary holdings became the final decision," Mueller wrote in a blog post.
"Motorola will have to fight hard for a ruling of broader scope, and I'm sure it will."
Mueller noted that it would be difficult for Motorola to prove that every implementation of 3G would inevitably infringe upon their patent with just the one violation.
A US judge also recently ruled that the mobile phones maker should not enforce a potential sales ban that would have prevented Microsoft from selling its wares.
The European Commission recently launched an investigation into Motorola's potential abuse of industry patents when they sought to get injunctions against products from Apple and Microsoft.
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