Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bad news for Android: ITC rules HTC infringes on two Apple patents

If you can't beat them with products, how about in the courts? There's bad news coming out of the U.S. International Trade Commission for HTC, and quite possibly for Android, as well, as Administrative Law Judge Carl Charneski of the ITC has ruled that HTC infringed two of the four patents (originally 10) Apple asserted against it.

Save Up To 50% Everyday!The two patents are 5,946,647 (“a system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer") and 6,343,263 ("a real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data"). It's not a done deal yet, however. Friday's decision is a so-called "initial determination." That determination will be reviewed by the full six-member commission in Washington, D.C.

According to the ITC, HTC has infringed claims 1, 2, 24 and 29 of the ,263 patent, and 1, 8, 15 and 19 of the ,647 patent. It's the ,647 patent that may be most problematic for Android. Foss Patents' Florian Mueller said, “They are very likely to be infringed by code that is at the core of Android. It’s telling that those two patents are also at issue between Apple and Motorola.”

That's right, you remember that Apple has charged Motorola with patent infringement, as well. And Motorola Mobility has pretty much bet the whole ball of wax on Android.

Entertainment Products & Party SuppliesHTC general counsel Grace Lei said in a statement, “HTC will vigorously fight these 2 remaining patents through an appeal before the ITC Commissioners who make the final decision. We are highly confident we have a strong case for the ITC appeals process and are fully prepared to defend ourselves using all means possible.”

Earlier this month, Apple accused HTC, in a separate complaint, of infringing on five patents related to hardware for touchscreens and movement sensors, as well as for software architecture and UI. Apple seeks to block U.S. imports of HTC's new Flyer Android tablets as well as its Droid Incredible, Wildfire, EVO 4G and Desire phones.

Just last week, HTC agreed to buy S3 Graphics Co. for $300 million. Is it coincidental that the purchase occurred after S3 won an infringement ruling at ITC against --- Apple? Probably not. HTC also has its own filing against Apple at ITC. Those findings are scheduled to be released onn Sept. 16.

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