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HTC Tells U.K. Court Its Touchscreens Don’t Breach Apple Patents

HTC Corp. told a London court that the use in its smartphones of touchscreen technology, including the “slide-to-unlock” icon, doesn’t infringe Apple Inc. patents.

HTC is disputing four Apple patents on zooming in and scrolling between photos, multiple touches on the same screen, unlocking phones, and the use of various alphabets in sending text messages.

“We are dealing with extremely simple implementations of commonly known techniques,” lawyers for Taiwan-based HTC said in written arguments describing the case.

Apple and HTC are suing over patents in British, German and Dutch courts as they battle for a share of the international smart-phone market. Mobile-phone shipments are estimated to reach 1.7 billion in 2012 with smart-phone shipments increasing 33.5 percent, according to market researcher IDC.

If HTC wins the London case and invalidates Apple’s patents, it could use the U.K. judgment to help prove during the German trial that it isn’t infringing Apple’s European patents. The German injunctions would “have a serious impact on HTC’s business in Europe,” its lawyers said in written arguments for the London trial.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, is also involved in global patent fights with Samsung Electronics Co. and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. over smart-phones and tablet computers.

HTC is “attacking the validity of four patents,” Apple’s lawyer Simon Thorley told the London court this morning. “We say it is clear the inventions make the requisite contributions,” to the field.

The trial is scheduled to last until May 4.

HTC reported first-quarter net income on April 6 that plunged 70 percent from a year earlier to NT$4.46 billion ($150 million) amid competition with Apple and Samsung.

The case is: HTC Europe Co. Ltd. v. Apple Inc., High Court of Justice, London, HC11C02703.

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