Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s patent-infringement complaint against HTC Corp. (2498) will be reviewed by a U.S. trade agency that has the power to block imports of the Taiwanese company’s phones and new Flyer tablet computers.
The International Trade Commission said it will investigate Apple’s accusations that HTC infringed five patents related to software architecture and user interfaces in portable electronic devices, hardware for touch screens and movement sensors. Notice of the decision was posted on the agency’s website today.
A trade judge last month said HTC infringed two other Apple patents, a decision subject to review by the six-member commission. If the commission agrees, it could order an import ban on certain HTC phones that run on Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android operating system.
HTC, based in Taoyuan, Taiwan, has denied infringing any Apple patents and pledged to challenge last month’s findings. It has its own complaint pending against Cupertino, California- based Apple, with a judge scheduled to release his determination in September.
“HTC respects intellectual property and will continue to protect and defend its protected innovations,” Grace Lei, general counsel at HTC, said in an e-mail. “We will fully cooperate with the ITC’s investigation and look forward to showing that we are not in violation of any of Apple’s patents.”
In March, HTC released the Flyer, its first tablet device in the U.S. to rival Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. The Flyer has a 7-inch screen and uses Android. The latest Apple complaint also targets HTC mobile phones including the Droid Incredible, Wildfire, EVO 4G and Desire.
The new complaint is In the Matter of Portable Electronic Devices and Related Software, 337-797, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington). Apple’s earlier case against HTC is In the Matter of Certain Personal Data and Mobile Communications Devices and Related Software, and the HTC case against Apple is In the Matter of Portable Electronic Devices, 337-721, both ITC.
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