updated 05:40 pm EST, Mon December 19, 2011
Apple wins definitively against HTC in ITC case
(Update: HTC statement) Apple scored a major coup Monday after the International Trade Commission ruled in favor of Apple in a repeatedly delayed decision as to whether HTC was violating Apple patents. An administrative law judge upheld the view that HTC was violating two claims. Some unnamed devices would be banned starting from April 19 to give times for carriers to switch to other hardware.
HTC would only be allowed afterwards to import refurbished phones to handle repair claims, but it wouldn't be allowed to sell new unless it could prove it wasn't violating patents.
HTC hadn't yet said what it planned to do, although it would now have to hope for a reversal outside of its control. Some of the devices named in the lawsuit either weren't being sold by the time the lawsuit began or will have been phased out by April.
The loss follows HTC's would-be partner S3 losing its claims against Apple and creates a difficult barrier. HTC has its own ITC complaints and civil lawsuits in action, but their timing could see some HTC devices forced off the market months before the ITC makes any firm decision.
Update: HTC has provided a statement suggesting that it has a workaround.
"While disappointed that a finding of violation was still found on two claims of the ‘647 patent, we are well prepared for this decision, and our designers have created alternate solutions for the ‘647 patent," it said.