The appeals court also revived a patent claim Motorola Mobility had made against Apple but ruled Motorola could not seek a sales ban for infringement of the patent, which is essential to ensuring that mobile telephones from different companies can talk to each other.
Apple and companies that make phones using Google's Android software have filed dozens of such lawsuits around the world to protect their technology. Apple, in particular, argues that Android phones made using Google software copy its iPhones.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had been hearing two cases - one in which Apple accused Motorola Mobility, which was later bought by Google, of infringing four patents. Motorola accused Apple of infringing a standard essential patent.
The cases were consolidated at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Judge Richard Posner, who took the case, dismissed it in 2012 before trial, saying that neither company had sufficient evidence to prove their case.
The appeals court considered six patents in the two cases - three belonging to Apple and three to Motorola Mobility.
Posner had ruled an injunction barring the sale of Motorola phones would harm consumers. However, the appeals court decided Posner defined one of Apple's patents too narrowly and ordered him to reconsider Apple's request for an injunction.
The appeals court affirmed the lower court's decisions on two Motorola Mobility patents but disagreed with how the lower court treated a third.
Apple declined comment while Google could not immediately be reached for comment.
© Thomson Reuters 2014