WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Google unit Motorola Mobility is not entitled to ask a court to stop the sale of Apple iPhones and iPads that it says infringe on a patent that is essential to wireless technology, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday.
In June, Judge Richard Posner in Chicago threw out cases that Motorola, now owned by Google, and Apple had filed against each other claiming patent infringement. Both companies appealed.
In rejecting the Google case, Posner barred the company from seeking to stop iPhone sales because the patent in question was a standard essential patent.
This means that Motorola Mobility had pledged to license it on fair and reasonable terms to other companies in exchange for having the technology adopted as a wireless industry standard.
Standard essential patents, or SEPs, are treated differently because they are critical to ensuring that devices made by different companies work together.
Google appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The FTC said in its court filing that Posner had ruled correctly.
The commission, which has previously argued against courts banning products because they infringe essential patents, reiterated that position on Wednesday.
"Patent hold-up risks harming competition, innovation, and consumers because it allows a patentee to be rewarded not based on the competitive value of its technology, but based on the infringer's costs to switch to a non-infringing alternative when an injunction is issued," the commission wrote in its brief.
The case is Apple Inc. and NeXT Software Inc. V. Motorola Inc. and Motorola Mobility Inc., in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, no. 2012-1548, 2012-1549.
(Reporting By Diane Bartz)
Earlier on HuffPost:
0, The Number Of 'New' Gadgets Released Since 2010
Is it just us, or has it been a long time since Apple released a unique product that isn't a refresh of one of its existing devices? The last time Apple truly <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Apple_products"> created a brand new product</a> that shook up the consumer market (and that wasn't an update of an earlier gadget) was in <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/27/ipad-apple-tablet-release_0_n_438244.html">2010 with the iPad</a>. Yikes. Where's that iTV set everyone's been hoping for, Apple?
2, The iPhone's Rank In Terms Of Global Smartphone Sales
Apple's iPhone is not the world's best-selling smartphone. It has been dethroned by Samsung's Galaxy S3. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/08/galaxy-s3-sales-worlds-number-one-smartphone_n_2091689.html">According to a recent study</a>, Apple sold 16.2 million smartphones in the third quarter of 2012, while Samsung sold 18 million S3 handsets. <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2012/11/08/iphone-no-longer-world-best-selling-smartphone/">Fox News states</a> this is the first time in years the iPhone wasn't ranked first in global sales. One caveat: <a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/3002815/samsung-galaxy-s3-now-number-one-smartphone-worldwide?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+fastcompany%2Fheadlines+%28Fast+Company%29">Fast Company</a> points out that these numbers may be somewhat skewed because Apple's highly anticipated iPhone 5 wasn't released until the end of Q3. With the iPhone 5 on the market, it's possible that Apple's iPhone sales could catch up to Samsung's.
50, iPad's Percentage Of The Tablet Market
Faced with mounting competition, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/06/ipad-market-share-q3-2012_n_2079397.html">Apple's foothold in the tablet market slipped</a> from 65.5 percent to 50 percent in the third quater of 2012. While its market share is still quite strong, it's possible that the iPad could continue losing ground.
5, The Percentage Of Formerly Loyal iPhone Users Who Don't Want To Buy Another iPhone
According to a <a href="http://www.strategyanalytics.com/default.aspx?mod=reportabstractviewer&a0=7880">report by Strategy Analytics</a>, loyalty among iPhone owners has slipped for the first time since the handset was released in 2007. When customers were asked if they would "definitely" or "probably" purchase their next phone from Apple, a fewer number of participants said they would, compared with previous studies. In the U.S., for example, 88 percent said they'd buy another iPhone, down from 93 percent in 2011. Our own Jason Gilbert offers a counterpoint to this study, however. "Most smartphone manufacturers would do nasty things to achieve 88 percent [...] customer retention," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/06/iphone-user-loyalty-declines_n_2079751.html">GIlbert writes</a>. "Indeed, an August poll by Barron's found that just 48 percent of Android users plan to re-up with another Android phone, while 2 percent [...] of BlackBerry users will stick with RIM next time around."
$130, The Difference In Price Between iPad Mini And Rival Tablets
Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Google all sell 7-inch tablets <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/23/ipad-mini-kindle-fire-hd_n_2005675.html">for a retail price of $199</a>. Apple priced its iPad Mini at a much higher $329. Some critics suggests this piece of technology is worth the hike in cost, but will customers feel the same way?
6, Apple's Rank In China's Smartphone Market
<a href="http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/print/9233339/Apple_out_of_China_s_top_five_smartphone_list_in_Q3">Computerworld reports</a> that Apple has dropped out of the "top five list in China's smartphone market" for Q3. The company previously maintained the fifth place position, but was beaten out by competitors like South Korean company Samsung and Chinese PC maker Lenovo. Apple currently has about 8 percent of the market share in China, and is now in sixth place. But why is Apple's smartphone market share in China so important? <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/30/china-smartphone-market_n_1843176.html">Because, according to research firm IDC</a>, China's consumers have a voracious appetite for new technologies, and the country's demand for smartphones is expected to overtake the U.S. sometime in 2012.
5, The Months Since Apple Stock Has Hit A Record High
Apple stock got off to a rocky start in November. At the time of writing, share prices were at a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/apple-stock_n_2088653.html">five-month low</a>. The reason for this loss in shareholder confidence? Well, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/06/ipad-market-share-q3-2012_n_2079397.html">the recent report on iPad's slipping market share</a> and the firing of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/apple-stock_n_2088653.html">mobile software chief Scott Forstall</a> probably didn't earn the company any stability points.