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Economics minister offers help to HTC on patent case

2012/05/17 17:07:56

Taipei, May 17 (CNA) Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang said Thursday his ministry will provide smartphone vendor HTC Corp. with assistance, if necessary, to deal with the ongoing litigation on patent infringement brought against the Taiwanese firm by rival Apple Inc.

Shih told lawmakers at a legislative session that the ministry has kept in close touch with HTC to keep informed of the progress of the particular litigation.

HTC said Wednesday that shipments of HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE models to the U.S. market have been delayed by a review of the U.S. Customs requested by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC).

The customs review came after the USITC ruled in December that HTC infringed on one of Apple's patents involving data detection.

The Taiwanese firm was given until April 19 to come up with an alternative to avoid a ban on imports and sales of its products equipped with the function in the U.S. market.

Shih said to his knowledge, HTC has appealed the December ruling, adding while the company has a strong legal department, if the company needs any assistance, the ministry will try its best to help.

Since the case, which was initiated overseas, has its complexities, the ministry is determined to provide assistance if the smartphone vendor makes a request, the minister said.

HTC said it has worked around its design and is in compliance with the ruling, adding that it will cooperate fully with U.S. Customs, but it is not clear when the customs review will be completed.

After the customs review news surfaced, HTC shares fell 6.59 percent Wednesday as foreign institutional investors sold a net of 3.14 million shares amid concerns that the shipment delay will impact sales of the company for the second quarter.

The stock managed to stage a mild technical rebound to close up 0.73 percent at NT$414.00. Several foreign brokerages have voiced concerns about the shipment delay. Among them, Merrill Lynch said if the products are detained by the U.S. Customs for four weeks, HTC's sales for the second quarter will be reduced by 5-10 percent.

In an investor conference held in April, HTC forecast its sales for the second quarter will reach NT$105 billion, up from NT$67.79 billion recorded for the first quarter.

(By Huang Chiao-wen and Frances Huang)
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