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ITC finds HTC to be violating two Apple patents

updated 06:05 pm EDT, Fri July 15, 2011

Apple gets partial win in ITC complaint vs HTC

Apple landed a crucial blow in its patent fight with HTC Friday when the ITC found that HTC had violated two Apple patents. The ruling on Apple's original complaint would block the import of infringing devices and would force it to take those devices off the market in the US. Most of those devices in the original dispute included older Android hardware like the Nexus One but also some Windows Mobile-era hardware.

HTC planned to "vigorously" defend itself and appeal the ruling. The Taiwan phone designer also tried to downplay the impact and said it was just "one step of many," such as its own ITC dispute.

If upheld, the determination could still put many of the cards in Apple's hands. It filed a second ITC complaint this week using different patents but with more modern phones at stake. HTC would have to get its own wins to have a bargaining chip, and if not would have to settle if it wanted to avoid product bans.

The current complaint also has matching lawsuits that could deliver a heavier financial penalty to HTC, even if none of the products are on shelves. Companies in patent fights often use the ITC to help fast track a lawsuit by removing doubt as to which patents are at stake.

Apple has alleged that HTC is copying the iPhone but is widely known to be using the lawsuit as a way of slowing down Android. HTC has fought back and argued that Apple was suing instead of competing.

by MacNN Staff



  1. chas_m



    The "not competing" argument

    just doesn't hold any water. Apple INVENTED this market and continues to re-define it every year or two.

    HTC is not an innovator, they are a packager. IME not an especially good on either (there are better makers of Android and Win phones out there). They bring NOTHING innovative to the table and thus don't have a leg to stand on.

    Whether Apple is "suing Google by proxy" or not, the message is clear: stop copying the iPhone. I predict more victories than losses for Apple on this particular line of trademark and trade dress defence.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sounds like...

    Apple is holding on to a hot nail.

    Researching the patents show the infringing devices are old models most already retired.

    The extra cash might help Apple repay Nokia!

    Comment buried. Show
  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If Apple

    is so confident that they product a superior product, why then is Apple so terrified of HTC and Samsung and all the "Copycats"?

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    these patents predate smartphones

    the two patents in question are 17 years and 15 years old. They predate smartphones and have nothing to do with smartphones.

    They basically came from the Macintosh world and cover the most basic operations of interacting with data.

    All phones would violate these patents - from any company.

    Now Microsoft at some point made a cross patent deal with Apple. I doubt anyone else has a chance - if these hold.

    The patents are fantastically broad, they could be thrown out. But - they might hold up - time will tell.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    p.s. Google management is dumb

    Let's face it. Google had plenty of pre-warning that in this world, you need a patent portfolio to cross-sue your competition.

    And they had a mountain of cash.

    They should have bought those Nortel patents at any price.

    Instead they let Apple have them - the last company they needed to have them.

    Oh well, its their own fault.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    more on the patents

    the patents in question are so broad - they basically cover every phone or computer ever made by anyone.

    Now MS did do a cross license deal, but frankly these patents will have to be tossed out. Even though they are 17 years old, there is prior art.

    Remember in the Oracle vs. Google deal, many of the patents have already been tossed.

    Now the ITC can still do an import ban and give HTC headaches, but Motorola filed an injunction asking for these patents to be invalidated.

    That hasn't happened yet - all will work through the system slowly. A lot of old men who don't understand technology will be making random guesses at what to do.

    Even though I am frustrated with google on their ideological stand - the reality is, they are right about the patent system needing serious rework.

    Do you know clicking on a link would violate the same patent HTC supposedly violated?

    There is no workaround for these patents, apple basically says that they patented the idea that a computer would respond to data.

    That's how broad these patents are.....

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