Trade commission rules in Apple's favor, against HTC
NEW YORK -- The U.S. International Trade Commission has issued an initial ruling that Apple Inc.'s iPhone does not violate four patents owned by rival smartphone maker HTC Corp. of Taiwan.
The ruling is a small victory for Apple in a wide conflict between smartphone manufacturers, waged with patent suits in several legal venues. Apple is trying to defend the iPhone against competitors like HTC, who base their phones on Google Inc.'s Android software. In response, HTC and others are suing Apple back.
The ITC, a six-judge panel with jurisdiction over imports and exports, issued the ruling Monday, saying that the patents were valid but Apple doesn't infringe them.
The ITC has the power to ban imports of devices it finds to infringe on patents. HTC could challenge its initial finding.
The patents at issue covered software features of a phone's dialer and address list, and power management features.
"This is only one step of many in these legal proceedings," said HTC's general counsel, Grace Lei. "We are confident we have a strong case for the ITC appeals process and are fully prepared to protect our intellectual property."
Apple did not respond to a request for comment.