HTC Loss in Patent Case Against Apple to Be Reviewed by U.S.

HTC Corp.’s loss in its patent-infringement case against Apple Inc. will be partially reviewed, the U.S. International Trade Commission said.

A judge at the trade commission had rejected in October HTC’s claims that the Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad tablet were infringing four patents. The six-member agency, which can block imports of products that violate U.S. patents rights, said in a notice today it would take a closer look at the judge’s non-infringement finding for one of the patents. The remaining three won’t be reviewed.

The case was filed in retaliation for a complaint Apple lodged against HTC in March 2010 that is scheduled to be ruled on Dec. 19. The cases are part of a broader fight in which technology companies, including Apple, HTC, Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. and Microsoft Corp., are vying for an increased share of the smartphone market.

Apple and Taoyuan, Taiwan-based HTC each have two ITC cases pending against each other. The case today, filed in May 2010, accused Apple of infringing patents related to managing a phone’s power supply, protecting data and storing contacts.

“Competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours,” said Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple.

HTC declined to comment on the case.

Phone Features

The patent that will be subject of the review, which HTC received in 2006 based on internal research, relates to a way to control how the phone switches between modes of operation to manage power supply. The commission is scheduled to issue a final decision on the case on Feb. 17.

The commission said there was no violation of three other HTC patents, including one for a method to protect data from being lost when the phone doesn’t have enough power.

The other two relate to ways to store, access and use contact information in a phone’s address book. HTC acquired those two patents in 2009, about a year before Apple filed its first complaint, according to information on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website.

The HTC case against Apple is In the Matter of Portable Electronic Devices, 337-721, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).

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