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Narrow win for Apple

Posted: 22 Dec 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:patent wars? mobile communications?

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) granted Apple Inc. a narrow win in its suit against HTC Corp. Apple claims that HTC violated its patents.

HTC has until April 19 to stop violating a patent on making a phone call or a calendar entry by tapping on a phone number or date. Observers said HTC can work around the patent or temporarily eliminate the feature from its phones to avoid disruption of its sales.

The ITC did not find infringement on any of the other nine patents in the Apple case. Some of those patents, including one on signal processing techniques, would have been harder for HTC to work around.

"This ruling falls far short of anything [that] would force HTC out of the U.S. market in the near term," said Florian Mueller, who runs a Web site that closely follows the mobile patent wars. "Apple will need a higher hit rate in the future, and it will have to enforce patents that are greatly more impactful than this one," Mueller wrote.

The ITC case is one of nearly 100 between top smartphone players such as Apple, Android partners and Microsoft. It could take a year or two before the impact of the cases becomes clear, said Mueller in an interview for an EE Times-Confidential analysis.

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