Apple cleared of violating HTC patents
Mobile-manufacturer HTC did not infringe Apple patents, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) has said in a new ruling.
The move reverses an earlier decision by an American judge and relates to a part of HTC called S3, which specialises in audio compression technology.
HTC purchased S3 in July; its shares fell 4.9 per cent on the news after the ITC, which has the power to block the import of products, said it considered that its investigation was now closed.
S3 was among a number of companies still in dispute with Apple, and Google itself has sold a number of patents to HTC so that the mobile-manufacturer can sue Apple over a range of ongoing issues. Samsung, which supplies chips for a range of Apple products, is also the subject of a number of Apple disputes.
The nine patents bought by HTC, which Google bought from Motorola, Palm and other companies less than a year ago, concern Google’s Android operating system. In a sign both that Google is unwilling to sue Apple directly and also that the ‘patent wars’ between major manufacturers are further hotting up, HTC has also filed other claims against Apple, while itself being sued by the iPhone maker on a number of fronts.
Florian Mueller, of the blog Foss Patents, wrote at the time that "Google knows that HTC is under tremendous legal pressure from Apple and clearly on the losing track. HTC is the first Android device maker sued by Apple, so that dispute is at the most advanced stage, and since HTC's own patent portfolio is weak, it has so far lacked the leverage to force Apple into a cross-license agreement. The possibility of HTC being defeated must have scared Google.”
Steve Jobs was previously quoted as saying Apple thinks “competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours”.