U.S. judge: HTC patents likely valid in Apple suit; U.S. ban of iPhone and iPad devices possible

“Apple Inc. may face a difficult task invalidating two HTC Corp. patents for data transmission in wireless devices, a U.S. trade judge said at a trial that could lead to import bans on the newest iPad and next version of the iPhone,” Susan Decker reports for Bloomberg. “‘Clear and convincing means something to me,’ U.S. International Trade Commission Judge Thomas Pender said yesterday in Washington, referring to the legal standard in determining that a patent shouldn’t have been issued. ‘I have to be pretty darn certain a U.S. patent is invalid.'”

“HTC accuses Apple of infringing two patents it owns for ways to reliably transmit a larger amount of data. Taoyuan, Taiwan-based HTC said the patented methods are critical to the 4G technology known as LTE, or long-term evolution, that allow faster downloads,” Decker reports. “A victory could let HTC seek an import ban of the latest iPad and even the newest iPhone, if it uses LTE when it’s unveiled as early as next week. That could give the Taiwanese handset maker leverage to force a settlement with Apple, which has made its own patent-infringement claims against HTC.”

Decker reports, “HTC acquired the patents at issue in April 2011, around the same time it began selling its first LTE phone, the Thunderbolt. The patents are part of a portfolio HTC bought for $75 million from ADC Telecommunications Inc. ‘I don’t care if they bought these patents to sue you or not,’ Pender told Apple lawyer Michael McKeon. ‘They are a property right.’ …Pender said yesterday he probably won’t side with Apple’s argument that HTC didn’t have proper ownership rights of the two former ADC patents.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We highly doubt that iPhones and iPads will be banned in the U.S. as a result of this case.

35 Comments

  1. Taiwan-based HTC said the patented methods are critical to the 4G technology known as LTE, or long-term evolution, that allow faster downloads

    Actual ‘4G’ LTE, called ‘LTE Advanced’, isn’t even available yet. So does he mean current LTE technology sold using the bogus marketing term ‘4G LTE’? If so, it’s a public STANDARD developed by the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project). I don’t see HTC listed as a partner in 3GPP:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3GPP

    All I see HTC doing is hosting a 3GPP related meeting in 2011. I don’t think that equates to patented technology:

    http://www.cn-c114.net/583/a465038.html

  2. Uhm… Apple bought 4G patents too, and I’m sure everybody selling a 4G phone infringes those patents. This case will be a wash because of FRAND. HTC and others will end up signing cross-licensing deals, we’ll all go on enjoying our newest iPhone.

        1. Based on my limited understanding of the PTO, the problem started back in early 1990s when Prez Clinton appointed Bruce Lehman, a lobbyist, to run the PTO. Under his leadership, the scope of patentable invention expanded greatly – in particular, software/tech areas.

  3. “the patented methods are critical to the 4G technology known as LTE”.

    Sounds like a SEP and FRAND issue to me. Don’t think they’ll get a ban on something like that.

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