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HTC loses patent infringement suit to Apple (update 1)

2012/02/18 07:19:15

Taipei, Feb. 18 (CNA) HTC Corp. has failed in its first attempt to sue Apple Inc. for patent infringement, after the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled against the Taiwanese smartphone maker Friday.

In the previous ruling on Oct. 17 last year, the ITC said Apple had not infringed on four HTC patents related to portable electronic devices, including the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

HTC appealed the ruling on Oct. 31, but the ITC agreed to review only one of the patents in the dispute, U.S. patent No. 6,999,800, a method for power management of a smartphone that experts thought was too weak to use to attack Apple.

On Friday, the ITC rejected HTC's claim, supporting Apple's contention that its products had not infringed the patent in question.

HTC expressed regret over the ruling.

"We are disappointed by the Commission's ruling, and look forward to reading the full opinion to understand its reasoning. We'll explore all options, including appeal," HTC General Counsel Grace Lei said in a statement.

Friday's ruling was the first of three patent-infringement cases HTC has lodged against Apple since May 2010, all of which have sought to ban U.S. imports of Apple's mobile devices, which are produced abroad.

HTC, a major provider of smartphones running on Google Inc.'s Android operating system, initiated the lawsuits after being sued a number of times by the iPhone maker for patent infringements.

In one patent complaint filed by Apple in March 2010 against HTC, the Taiwanese vendor suffered a setback on Dec. 19 when an ITC panel partially upheld its preliminary findings of a patent violation.

The panel said the world's No. 4 smartphone maker had infringed on one of Apple's four patents related to portable electronic devices, or the "647" patent.

The 647 patent describes a "system and method for performing an action on a structure in a computer," which is related to the core of Google's open-source Android operating system and is widely used in HTC smartphones.

In a separate ruling in a related case, the ITC said on Nov. 22 that Apple's Mac OS X system had not infringed on texture compression patents held by S3 Graphics Co., a subsidiary of HTC.

This forced HTC to review the US$300 million acquisition of the U.S. graphic chipset designer that took place in July 2011.

(By Jeffrey Wu)
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