Here’s One Win for Apple Before Earnings

The International Trade Commission ruled that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) did not infringe on a patent by Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Motorola Mobility, a phone sensor used in the iPhone 4.

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The patent is a sensor that prevents the phone from hanging up when close to a person’s face, and if Motorola had won the case, it would have caused problems importing the phones into the U.S, reports Bloomberg.

It was the last of six unsuccessful patent infringement cases that Motorola aimed at Apple in October of 2010, prior to being acquired by Google in May of last year.

“This is not a surprise because the commission has heretofore not found a violation by Apple in any case as to any claim in any patent,” said Rodney Sweetland, a patent lawyer with Duane Morris in Washington who specializes in ITC cases. “The commission is particularly attentive to the details in cases involving Apple, which implicate such a popular product and such an important part of commerce.”

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The ruling is a rare bright spot among the iPhone maker’s recent troubles. The company has seen its stock tumble in recent months and is expected to downsize its Q3 earnings estimate today as well.

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