updated 06:55 pm EDT, Mon June 11, 2012
Google transferred patents to HTC less than a week before suit
An International Trade Commission (ITC) judge has granted Apple's motion to have five of the patents asserted against it by HTC thrown out of an ongoing legal dispute. The five patents were assigned to HTC by Google less than a week before HTC filed the complaint in September 2011. Three of eight patents remain in HTC's second ITC complaint against Apple.
Judge Thomas Pender concluded that HTC failed to acquire all the rights in the relevant patents. Several of the patents transferred to HTC had been through five or more parties in their decade-old lifespan, obfuscating the ownership somewhat, while many limitations and restrictions were applied by patent-owner Google before the latest transfer.
The decision is appealable, and the issues with rights limitations on the patents can in theory be resolved. Google could join the suit as an additional complainant, which could ratchet up the legal tensions between the two giants already aggravated by the Motorola vs. Apple ongoing drama.
The HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE phones have recently been released from customs following an Apple ITC victory against sales in the United States. Apple has recently filed a third ITC complaint versus HTC against 29 separate HTC devices, and has asked for an emergency proceeding to block the sales of the devices.