Apple scores preliminary patent victory over HTC

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) won an initial victory in its long-running patent dispute with HTC after a preliminary ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission found HTC infringed on two Apple patents. HTC said it will appeal the ruling, but the company's stock has taken a hit since the ruling was handed down.

The patents refer to multimedia processing technology and data detection technology.

Apple originally sued HTC in March 2010 for infringing on 10 of its patents, and the suit was widely seen as a veiled attack on Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform, which HTC heavily relies upon for its smartphones. Six of the patents were dropped from the ITC case, and the ITC ruled that HTC infringed on two of the four remaining patents.

The ruling, by Administrative Law Judge Carl Charneski, is subject to review by the full, six-member ITC, which has the power to ban the importation of goods that infringe on patents. HTC's shares fell to their lowest point in six months after the ruling, and the company said it will buy back as much as 2.4 percent of its outstanding shares before Sept. 17.

HTC said it will vigorously appeal the ruling. HTC CFO Winston Yung pointed out in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires that the ITC's staff attorney who independently reviewed the case found the company didn't violate the patents. However, Yung hinted HTC might be willing to negotiate a settlement with Apple.

In June, Nokia (NYSE:NOK) emerged the victor against Apple in the companies' long-running patent dispute, with Apple agreeing to pay licensing fees to Nokia as part of a settlement.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this separate Bloomberg article
- see this AllThingsD article

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