Back in December the International Trade Commission squashed some of the Apple patent claims against HTC. However they still found in Apple’s favor in regards to patent ’647. HTC released the following statement in regards to that patent:
“We are very pleased with the determination and we respect it. However, the ‘647 patent is a small UI experience and HTC will completely remove it from all of our phones soon.”
HTC has said they will issue a software fix well before the April 12, 2012 deadline to curb any possible ban on the import of HTC phones.
More after the break
HTC fired back at Apple using patents that were held by S3 Graphics, a company that HTC had intended on buying just for this reason. In their preliminary ruling the ITC ruled that Apple hadn’t violated any of the four patents brought forth by HTC.
The ITC uses a two step ruling process, with the first preliminary ruling on these patents back in October. Friday the ITC made their final ruling and again said that Apple didn’t violate any of those patents in question. This leaves HTC out in the cold in their hopes to get a ban on the import of Apple iPhones.
HTC can of course appeal the ruling however patent blog Foss Patents feels that an appeal would be futile at best.
Florian Mueller said on his blog today:
- For Apple, the dispute with Google subsidiary-to-be Motorola and the world-spanning ten-country court fight with Samsung are much more important battles. If, hypothetically, Apple hadn’t previously sued HTC and had to choose a third Android device maker besides those two to sue today, the choice might be HTC, but it could also be Amazon at this stage.
- HTC’s management is probably more concerned about market momentum than about Apple. The Taiwanese company was a rising star that made itself a worldwide brand name coming almost out of nowhere. I know many people who use HTC phones, and all of them are satisfied customers. But more recently, Samsung has absorbed pretty much all of the profits of the Android ecosystem, Amazon is heavily subsidizing its Kindle Fire, and Google will probably soon own Motorola, which will make that one a much more important force in the market than it is now. Cannibalization within the Android ecosystem is a far greater concern to HTC in the short term than Apple’s patent assertions.
If HTC decides to focus on the devices they are bringing forth in 2012 to win back the hearts of smartphone owners than these original 4 patent disputes are in effect over. HTC does have another argument against Apple being ruled on by the ITC now. This case involves 9 patents that HTC purchased from Google. The ITC has yet to make a ruling on those patents.
Apple still has federal lawsuits against HTC which are currently “stayed”. They also have another case in front of the ITC which isn’t expected to have a ruling until November. Finally, Apple still has two patent cases against HTC that are active in German patent courts.