Apple, HTC Android Patent Battle Just the Beginning

Apple has won a preliminary ruling against Android manufacturer HTC. Expect these Android battles to continue for some time.

Apple scored a victory in its intellectual-property battle against manufacturer HTC, with the U.S. International Trade Commission ruling the latter violated two of Apple s patents.

The ITC's July 15 ruling is preliminary, and could still be reversed by the full commission. Nonetheless, HTC's statements following the decision suggest the company is digging in for a long battle. "Now the course of action is to appeal," HTC CFO Winston Yung told Dow Jones Newswires. "We believe we have a very strong case, the attorney agrees with us, and therefore we will appeal."

HTC manufactures Google Android smartphones, whose rising market share threatens not only Apple's iPhone, but also Research In Motion's BlackBerry franchise and Microsoft's nascent Windows Phone. Apple is locked in a similar intellectual-property battle with Motorola and Samsung, both of which offer a variety of tablets and smartphones running Android.

While most of these battles are being fought in traditional court, the legal counsels for the various tech companies also love sending their respective cases to the ITC, which under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 can ban the importation of goods that violate U.S. patents. Given the sheer number of tech products manufactured outside the United States, that makes the involved companies particularly vulnerable to this particular legal avenue. 

This article was originally published on 07-19-2011
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