updated 02:50 am EDT, Tue July 31, 2012
Two patents remain, none originally developed by HTC
On Monday, HTC filed a motion to withdraw its last "home grown" patent from its contentious US International Trade Commission (ITC) complaint against Apple. HTC is only left with two Apple-claimed standards-essential patents to attempt to assert against Apple, rather than the original claimed eight. The remaining HTC patents and Apple counter-claims are expected to go to trial in about a month at the ITC.
Other than HTC voluntarily reducing its claims against Apple, the entire process has been replete with claims and counter-claims. Following the initial assertion by HTC, Google "loaned" five patents with limited use by HTC for assertion against Apple. Google's patents on loan to HTC were only made available for the smartphone maker to sue Apple, and the key rights for patent use were retained by Google. According to the ITC judge's reasoning for the dismissal of the five patents, they were "nothing more than a creative attempt to thread the needle of legal precedent so as to confer standing on HTC to assert Google's patents."
Apple countersued HTC for fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing violations in a Virginia court. Apple claims that HTC is in breach of contract based on standards-related misconduct, has committed fraud with attendant conspiracy to commit fraud, illegally restrained import trade, violated Virginia state antitrust laws, and violated monopoly clauses of the US antitrust law.
Furthermore, Apple has used some frank language with the ITC in regards to HTC's behavior during this entire process. Following Apple's extension of their ITC complaint to include 28 more HTC devices, and HTC's response to the counter-claim, Apple was concerned that falsehoods told to the agency provided the basis for HTC One X and Evo 3G LTE phones being released in mid-May from an ITC-ordered customs hold.
HTC subsidiary S3 is also pursuing two ITC complaints against Apple. Affiliate VIA technologies was purchased by HTC with the sole intent of patent assertion against Apple and following acquisition brought a ITC complaint against the computer manufacturer. The VIA versus Apple ITC trial begins July 31.