Apple Ahead in US Patent Case

A US judge has made an initial ruling in favour of Apple in their attempt to take legal action against HTC for patent infringement. The verdict, which came from ITC administrative law judge Carl Charneski, is not final but is a good sign for Apple and their lawsuit that has been pending since mid-2010. If it holds, the ruling will mean that HTC will no longer be able to sell their handsets in the lucrative US market, a huge blow for Android.

The lawsuit between the makers of the most advanced smartphones on the market is over technology that is almost twenty years old. In 1994 Apple filed a patent for a “real-time signal processing system”, which is debated to be fundamental technology used across a wide range of smartphones. If HTC had to alter how their phones use this technology, they would have to rebuild a sizable piece of the mobile phone from the ground up in ways that hitherto have yet to enter human imagination.

The other patent that is causing trouble was also from over a decade ago. Filed in 1996, Apple owns the rights to the Linkify function, which scans emails, text messages and other written communication for addresses, phone numbers, internet links, etc., and turns them into clickable actions allowing users to map directions, make phone calls, or visit a website straight from the message without having to write anything down. This is a big functionality piece for both Apple and HTC and the loss of the function would be a big hit to the Taiwanese mobile phone maker.

Of course, HTC will be appealing the decision. “We are highly confident we have a strong case for the ITC appeals process and are fully prepared to defend ourselves using all means possible,” stated Grace Lei, the general legal counsel for HTC.

What’s more, fellow Android makers are coming alongside HTC to challenge the legitimacy of some of the Apple patents. Motorola, another of the world’s biggest Android makers, has approached the ITC about disbanding a dozen of Apple’s technology patents on the grounds of prior art. HTC has also filed a countersuit stating that Apple has violated five patents that HTC own; they have asked that the ITC halt the importation and sale of the iPhone 4 and iPad within the US borders. An initial ruling is yet to be made on these claims.

Guest article written by: Leanne Miller, www.playittoday.org.

11 thoughts on “Apple Ahead in US Patent Case”

  1. One can only say that Good news for Apple and bad news for HTC. Let’s wait for the final verdict only then picture will be clear.

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  2. This might be a matter of semantics, but if a court stops the sale of, specifically, iPhone 4 and iPad, wouldn’t Apple still be able to offer the iPad2 (which is already on the market) and the iPhone 5 (whose release is imminent)? On the other hand, that order might SLIGHTLY slow down the juggernaut that is Apple product sales, allowing HTC to capture a little more of the mobile marketplace (which is, let’s face it, what HTC is trying to accomplish with its countersuit).

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  3. Terrible news for HTC. If Apply wins this and I think they will, goodbye HTC. They really sold good phones, too bad they had a problem with Apple.

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  4. Whoever wins or loses, what’s in it for us consumers? Are we going to benefit in terms of lower prices in the end? I really don’t think driving HTC out of the market is going to be a good thing competition-wise as well with regards to overall level of innovation and product design.

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  5. Wow that is really interesting how these things are working out. I am not surprised that they are after each other but there is so much demand why do they even bother. It is n’t like both companies are not making money.

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  6. This writer needs to come up to speed on this case. Back in April, the ITC Investigative Panel with a number of experts giving them the low down, recommended against Apple on both the Nokia and HTC cases. Apple knowing the gig was up with Nokia with a ton more patents and even after a judge on their case sided with Apple. They knew his decision wouldn’t fly under the ITC full Panel re-examination. Whom had hired those administrative law judges in the first place on both cases.

    The fact is that if the ITC Investigative Panel under hired expert guidance sided with HTC against Apple in their recommendation, that judge better have a precedent setting reason in Law for the Full Panel to decide to uphold that judge’s decision. Not to mention Competition Law and Apple being under investigation for Anti-competitive actions will come into this sooner rather than later. The only people this all hurts really are consumers!!!

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  7. i think this is a big functionality piece for both Apple and HTC and the loss of the function would be a big hit to the Taiwanese mobile phone maker.

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  8. I am excited to see how things will work out. Gerard has a point though. But I think if ever HTC is out there will be minimum change. Apple has still a lot of competitors to think about.

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  9. wow hard words, but we shall wait what comes out at the end of the story.both companies have a strong lobby behind them, and such a big decision could ruin the position of the HTC in the market. of course, apple would love that. but usually, these things are never-endingstories…

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  10. I really don’t know about this article, but I am sure that Apple will continue its journey even though there are many I-pads and I-phones we could find in the market. there is still competition regarding to this latest gadget.

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  11. I am not sure if I will side on Apple or HTC because we don’t really know what’s happening inside. But I hope it all ends well. Ofocurse, one has to win and one has to loss but I will wish good luck for both.

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