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USITC to probe IC patent infringement complaint against HTC

2012/06/08 20:19:45

Washington, June 7 (CNA) The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) said Thursday it has voted to launch an investigation into a complaint about an integrated circuit patent infringement against Taiwan-based smartphone vendor HTC.

The USITC said the complaint filed by U.S.-based IC supplier Peregrine Semiconductor Corp. in May alleges that HTC has infringed upon its radio frequency IC technology, which allows users to transmit wireless signals more efficiently while using less power.

In the complaint, Peregrine has also named HTC America, Inc., a unit of HTC, as well as Motorola Mobility, Inc. and RF Micro Devices, Inc. of the U.S. as respondents.

The USITC said Peregrine has accused the respondents of violating Section 337 of the U.S. Tariff Act of 1930 by importing and selling inthe U.S. certain products containing the technology.

The company requested that USITC issue orders to bar imports and sales of such products, the commission said.

The USITC said its chief administrative law judge will assign the case to one of the commission' s six administrative law judges, who will hold an evidentiary hearing and issue a preliminary ruling.

The initial decision will be subject to review by the commission, which will come up with a final ruling.

In addition to the Peregrine accusations, HTC is also engaged with rival Apple Inc. in an escalating patent legal battle.

In late May, shipments of HTC's latest models -- the HTC One series and the HTC EVO 4G LTE -- cleared a customs review requested by the USITC, which found that the Taiwanese firm had infringed on a data detection patent asserted by Apple.

The customs review led to a shipment delay of the products into the U.S. market. Along with weakening demand from Europe, the shipment delay prompted HTC to cut its sales forecast for the second quarter of this year by 13 percent earlier in the week.

HTC said it has since worked around the designs and found alternatives to the technology, allowing it to pass the customs review.However, Apple has still asked the USITC to issue emergency orders to bar imports of HTC's new smartphone and table computer models.

Amid cautious sentiment toward HTC's earnings outlook, shares of the smartphone vendor fell 13.3 percent in the past two sessions to close at NT$352.00 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange Friday.

(By Chou Yung-chieh and Frances Huang)