The United States appeals court for the Federal Circuit ruled in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s favor in an important intellectual property case earlier today. The court ruled that the company didn’t use patented technology from Motorola, which is now owned by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), on it’s perennially popular iPhone.

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Motorola vs. Apple

The smartphone industry today is highly competitive, as several companies are vying to lead the market. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPhone set the standard for the smartphone market. Many other tech companies have tried to copy their success, but most have fallen short. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) is one of the rare companies that’s been able to compete with the iPhone maker. Although this has given the South Korean company leverage in terms of sales, it’s also resulted in a lot of litigation.

This isn’t the first time Motorola has gotten into a courtroom battle over technology infringement.

Reuters added, “Motorola Mobility accused Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in 2010 of infringing on six of its patents covering technology such as reducing signal noise and programming the device’s touch screen so a user’s head does not accidentally activate it while talking on the phone. The ITC ruled in April 2013 that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) did not violate any of the six. The appeals court addressed just one of the six patents. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) acquired the patents in the case – and the lawsuit – when it purchased Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in 2012, partly for its library of telecommunications patents.”

Apple could face competition from Intel

Much to the Cupertino-based tech giant’s dismay, Google’s Android is now the world’s leading operating system for smartphones. However, it certainly helps that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) lets handset makers use the popular operating system for free.

Could Apple face some new competition from an unlikely rival? A recent report from Forbes asks if Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) is the next Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) because the chip maker has recently introduced a number of potentially revolutionary new products such as the “smart bowl”, a handy device that charges phones and other gadgets wirelessly.