FTC Supports Apple, Decries Motorola Attempts To Ban iPhone, iPad

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December 5, 2012 11:53 am
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Updated 5:27 p.m. EST

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Wednesday rushed to the aid of Apple, Inc., filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that Google-owned Motorola’s attempts to ban the sale of Apple products including the iPad and iPhone in the U.S., allegedly for infringing Motorola patents, “can harm competition, innovation, and consumers.” 

The FTC acknowledges that Motorola’s patents may in fact be valid and doesn’t say whether or not Apple should be found to have infringed, but notes that even in the case that it were, “the proper approach is usually to limit the relief available to the patent holder – specifically, to allow only monetary damages, and not an injunction that prohibits the sale of products incorporating the patented technology,” as the FTC summarized in a press release on its website.

The FTC notes that it applied the same reasoning in a filing in the same case in May, except in favor of Motorola and against Apple’s attempts to ban sales of that company’s devices, writing at the time, in part: “any injunction against Motorola would be a disservice to competition in the cell phone market.”

The FTC’s new brief was filed in an Apple v. Motorola case in the Northern District of Illinois that was dismissed in June, but which both companies have appealed. An FTC spokesperson told TPM the brief was filed in reference to the appeals. 

Updated to add background on the FTC’s previous brief filed in support of Motorola. 

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