Apple could face U.S. ban on products over 3G patent

The U.S.-based court battle between Motorola and Apple may have been dismissed, but Apple’s problems are far from over. As far as the ITC is concerned, the company is still facing a possible product import ban.

A new report is out this afternoon, claiming that the International Trade Commission is reviewing a previous ruling that says Apple is in violation of one of Motorola’s patents. And the outcome, could be devastating…

Bloomberg reports:

“The U.S. International Trade Commission said it will review ITC Judge Thomas Pender’s findings that Apple was violating one of four Motorola Mobility patents. The commission is scheduled to issue a final decision on Aug. 24, and has the power to block devices made in Asia from entering the U.S.”

The patent in question covers crucial 3G technology, used in both iPhones and iPads. Apple has argued that the tech is standards-essential, and should be licensed at a fair and reasonable price under the FRAND act. But thus far, it has yet to do so convincingly.

If the ITC rules that Apple is indeed infringing upon the patent, it has the right to block the import of Apple’s devices into the U.S. until the related technology is removed — a feat that would prove far more difficult than HTC’s hyperlink workaround.

Of course, Apple is working to make sure that doesn’t happen. Word is that it’s rounding up support from the likes of Microsoft, Nokia, HP and other companies to testify that Motorola’s 3G patent should fall under FRAND, and therefore not be punishable by import ban.

What makes this story all the more interesting is the fact that Google’s acquisition of Motorola has been finalized for months now. So you have to assume that the Mountain View company is essentially pulling the strings on this one.

Could we be getting close to finally seeing the Google vs. Apple fight we’ve all been waiting for?