updated 06:50 pm EDT, Tue September 27, 2011
ITC again agrees to investigate HTC vs Apple
The US International Trade Commission on Tuesday determined that it would look into the trade dispute accompanying HTC's latest lawsuit versus Apple. The agreement doesn't condemn Apple but does consider HTC's case serious enough to merit an investigation. If the ITC rules in favor of HTC, it could lead to bans primarily on iOS device sales.
As with other cases, the ITC has 45 days to estimate when it will have a final ruling. Most such cases take about 18 months.
The dispute and its matching Delaware lawsuit were filed in retaliation for HTC losing in Apple's initial complaint. Unlike past challenges, though, they rely on patents obtained from Google and Motorola. HTC is primarily relying on patents for basic software features such as web address completion, status bars, and font zooming.
Apple first sued HTC last year over non-design patents. Although it included Windows Mobile devices, the suit and its ITC equivalent have widely been interpreted as proxy fights with Google to slow down Android. A similar complaint has been leveled against Motorola. Fights with Samsung have only involved Android devices but have focused more on look and feel of the hardware and Samsung's own software customizations.