A US International Trade Commission (ITC) judge on Tuesday backed a claim that Apple violated patented Motorola Mobility technology in iPads and iPhones that can connect to 3G wireless networks.
Administrative law judge Thomas Pender ruled that the violation would qualify to have the offending gadgets banned from export into the United States.
A final ruling is expected later this year.
Motorola Mobility also accused Apple of violating three other patents - including one for touchscreen technology - but the ITC judge did not back up Motorola Mobility's claims.
Motorola Mobility said in a statement that it was pleased with the decision.
Apple said that it would appeal as th especific patent has already been declared as invalid in a German court.
The case is at the International Trade Commission, No. 337-745.