Surprising and mystifying everyone, Motorola withdrew their International Trade Commission complaint against Apple, which, if successful, could have banned the iPhone 5 in the US. It has been characterized as “one of the most surprising developments” in the dispute.
The complaint was filed in mid-August and the ITC announced a month later it would be following up on it. No reason was given for the withdrawal. Motorola moved to “terminate all claims in this investigation without prejudice based on Motorola’s withdrawal of the complaint, with Motorola and Apple each bearing their own costs and attorneys’ fees.”
Intellectual property expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents said that the simplest explanation would be that Motorola and Apple have reached a global settlement deal. However, a dismissal under those circumstances would be done with prejudice. The motion also states “there are no agreements between Motorola and Apple, written or oral, express or implied, concerning the subject matter of this investigation.”
Mueller goes on to say:
This could still be a unilateral goodwill gesture on Google’s part toward Apple if high-level settlement talks are progressing well, but it could also be a tactical decision involving a plan to reassert the same claims in a federal court.
In his opinion the complaint would have failed with ITC, but the decision, for the moment, remains a mystery.