Motorola has not infringed on Apple's patents, according to the US International Trade Commission (ITC).
The ITC ruled that Moto's smartphones have not infringed on three separate patents that Apple holds, with the preliminary ruling still needing approval by a six-person commission.
Nevertheless it is a major blow for Apple as it looks to protect its intellectual property around its successful iPad and iPhone.
Motorola has said that it is "pleased" by the ruling, just as its potential new owner Google will be - Google being, of course, the company in charge of Android, the major rival to iOS on smartphones.
The Google takeover of Motorola Mobility is still in the process of going through, but looks likely to happen in the course of 2012.
Apple is battling a number of companies over its patents, including Moto, HTC and perhaps its key hardware rival Samsung.
The latter has seen its products taken off shelves (albeit briefly) in some countries as the legal wrangling continues – and despite the latest ruling there is no end in sight for the end of the patent wars.