Apple opens up new patent fights with HTC, Samsung

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) continued to press its patent battles with both HTC and Samsung Electronics to new heights on Wednesday, filing motions that seek to block its rivals' hottest products from hitting the U.S. market.

First, Apple filed an enforcement action at the U.S. International Trade Commission, seeking to block the importation of 29 HTC products, including some of its newest smartphones. 

In December the ITC ruled that HTC had violated an Apple patent that covers the ability to convert clicking on phone numbers and email addresses into actionable links on smartphones. The ruling held up two of HTC's flagship devices, the Evo 4G LTE for Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and One X for AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), at U.S. customs.

HTC said it was developing a workaround to the patent for its devices. In late May HTC said that its shipments were proceeding as normal. However, HTC on Wednesday cut its revenue forecast for the second quarter by 13.3 percent, and blamed the cut on the U.S. import issue and weaker sales in Europe.

The new filing by Apple said that all 29 of HTC's devices infringed on the same patent at issue. Apple wants the ITC block all of HTC's devices running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform until the case is resolved, and Apple wants HTC to be forced to remove products from stores that were imported in violation of the order.

"The commission allowed HTC four months to either negotiate a license with Apple or to remove the infringing functionality from its Android devices," Apple said in the complaint. "HTC did neither."

In response, HTC said that its new models are in compliance with the ITC order. "The U.S. customs office has reviewed and approved HTC devices for import into the U.S., as they are in compliance with the ITC's ruling," HTC said in a statement.

Separately, Apple asked a federal judge in San Jose, Calif., to add Samsung's flagship Galaxy S III smartphone to the list of devices it wants to have blocked for sale in the United States. The device is expected to go on sale later this month and is scheduled to be sold by five U.S. carriers. Apple and Samsung failed to reach a settlement in their mammoth patent battle after court-ordered settlement talks failed to produce a result.

Apple said it "determined that this device [the Galaxy S III] clearly infringes at least two of the Apple patents at issue" for "the exact same reasons" earlier versions of the device infringed on Apple patents.

"Samsung believes Apple's request is without merit. We will vigorously oppose the request," the South Korean firm said in a statement. "We would also like to assure consumers that the U.S. launch and sales of the Galaxy S III will proceed as planned."

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this AllThingsD article
- see this Reuters article
- see this separate Bloomberg article
- see this separate Reuters article
- see this The Verge article

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