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By Tony Dutra
The International Trade Commission issued an order Dec. 19 banning imports by HTC Corp. of Android smartphones as infringing a valid patent held by Apple Inc. (In the Matter of Certain Personal Data and Mobile Communications Devices and Related Software, Int'l Trade Comm'n, No. 337-TA-710, 12/19/11).
The commission gave HTC until April 19 to comply with the order, “to provide a transition period for U.S. carriers.”
The ITC upheld a portion of Administrative Law Judge Carl C. Charneski's Aug. 24 initial determination, concluding that two apparatus claims of a patent (5,946,647) asserted by Apple were infringed by HTC's phones.
The ITC's opinion was not yet available, and the order did not list the infringing HTC models. However, Charneski had ruled that HTC's Evo 4G, Aria, Incredible, and other devices running the Android operating system developed by Google Inc. infringed, and the commissioners' order gave no indication that it had eliminated any of the HTC phones from the ban.
The decision comes only three weeks after Apple's failed attempt to take other iPhone and iPad competitors off the market. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied a preliminary injunction Dec. 2 after finding that Apple failed to show that monetary damages would not be sufficient to compensate the company for Samsung Electronics Co.'s infringement. Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., No. 5:11-cv-01846-LHK (N.D. Cal. Dec. 2, 2011).
Further, the battle between Apple and HTC is far from concluded. HTC is likely to appeal the current decision.
In addition, HTC initiated an infringement action of its own against Apple in the ITC. The commission agreed to review Administrative Law Judge Charles E. Bullock's initial determination that asserted claims of HTC's patents (6,999,800; 5,541,988; 6,058,193; 6,320.957; and 7,716,505) were not invalid, but that Apple did not infringe them. In the Matter of Portable Electronic Devices with Communication Capabilities, No. 337-TA-721 (Int'l Trade Comm'n, initial determination Oct. 17, 2011). ITC's review of that judgment is set for a separate decision in mid-February.
Nokia Corp. of Finland and its White Plains, N.Y., affiliate, Nokia Inc., were previously joined in the Apple action against HTC, but Apple and Nokia settled July 21.
Commission order at http://pub.bna.com/ptcj/ITC337TA710Dec19.pdf
Initial determination at http://pub.bna.com/ptcj/ITC337TA710Aug24.pdf
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