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HTC drops patent from lawsuit against Apple

2012/08/01 12:53:37

Taipei, Aug. 1 (CNA) Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp. confirmed Wednesday that it has withdrawn a patent from its second lawsuit against Apple Inc. to better focus its case.

"Our decision to drop a patent from this case is a normal step taken in litigation to help streamline cases for trial," HTC said in a statement via email.

"We are confident that Apple infringes our remaining patents and look forward to presenting our case to the judge at trial later this year," the Taoyuan-based company said.

The U.S. '414 patent that was withdrawn from the suit is related to a "circuit and operating method for integrated interface of PDA and wireless communication systems" and was the only "homegrown" HTC patent at issue in the investigation.

HTC had filed suit against Apple in the United States late last year for infringing eight patents, but that number is down to only two -- the '219 and '944 patents the company purchased from ADC Telecommunications in April 2011, which are essential to the 4G/LTE wireless communication standard.

Joey Yen, a senior analyst at International Data Corp., viewed HTC's decision as a move to expedite the trial process and save litigation costs.

"I don't think it is a struggle or a setback," she told CNA by telephone. "Instead, it's more like part of a trial strategy to focus on certain battlefields that might be in favor of the company."

HTC's decision came after the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) on July 11 denied its petition to review whether some patents it bought from Google Inc. could be used in the patent infringement case against the iPhone maker.

In September last year, HTC amended its existing complaints filed on Aug. 16, 2011 with the USITC and the U.S. District Court of Delaware, as well as an additional case in Delaware, for patent infringement by Apple's iOS devices and Mac computers.

HTC filed the new claim based on a total of eight patents, including five purchased from Google that had originated from Palm Inc., Motorola Inc. and Openwave Systems Inc. and had been transferred to Google within the previous year.

In June 2012, however, the USITC rejected HTC's bid to assert the five patents it obtained from Google after Apple argued that HTC did not have the right to sue through this "rent-a-patent" model.

(By Jeffrey Wu)