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HTC patent infringement claim against Apple dismissed by ITC

HTC patent infringement claim against Apple dismissed by ITC
Back in July when Monday Night Patent Infringement was kicking off, HTC purchased a company called S3 for $300 million. The Taiwan based company wanted control over some patents owned by the company. Although not a terribly large company, S3 was responsible for graphics on computers, mobile devices and gaming consoles. Back in November, the ITC ruled that Apple had not violated any of the patents that HTC had acquired from S3. HTC decided to appeal the initial ruling. Unfortunately for the manufacturer, on Friday the ITC dismissed the appeal and although there are options, going 0 for 2 in court is usually a sign that you need to cut your losses.

The battle between the two companies started in March 2010 when Apple filed a suit against HTC with the ITC. HTC retaliated and the ITC eventually found no violation on Apple's part. In October 211, an ALJ made an initial ruling that Apple did not violate 4 HTC patents and the latter withdrew a complaint on a 5th patent. HTC asked for an appeal by the 6 member ITC to review the ruling. In December, the ITC agreed, but only for one of HTC's patents. The ruling Friday ends the filings and investigations on that one patent.

S3 had its own infringement case against Apple, possibly motivated by Apple's actions against HTC. At a time when it looked like S3 might win the case, HTC made the decision to buy the company and take over the patents. In November, the ITC ruled in favor of Apple. According to FOSS Patents, with only 5% of smartphone patents ruled as being violated by the ITC, companies are turning to the German courts, especially the Mannheim Regional Court and the Munich I Regional Court, for relief.

In December, Apple won an import ban against HTC devices that infringed on the '647 patent relating to "data tapping" or the tapping on phone numbers to call someone back. HTC worked around this by removing the offending technology and said it is rarely used. FOSS Patents sees Apple looking to broaden the scope of the ruling by getting a ruling that another patent had been violated by appealing to the Federal Circuit. Meanwhile, for the rest of 2012, we probably will not see any final rulings in the U.S. on Apple's claims against HTC since all of the former's Federal lawsuits against HTC have been stayed by the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. A preliminary ruling from the ITC is due in November on Apple's second complaint against HTC. Nothing might come up until next year in Germany where Apple has two suits filed against HTC for four patents, two in Munich and two in Mannheim.

Last summer, HTC filed a suit against Apple, claiming that the latter illegally infringed upon 9 patents Google gave to HTC for the express reason to sue Apple. Of course, it will be up to the court to determine if these 9 patents offer a stronger case against Apple than the one that was tossed on Friday.

source: FOSSPatents

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