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Much of Apple's Mac computer lineup has been found in infringement of HTC's newly acquired intellectual property. This could lead to a ban on imports -- effectively a ban on sales -- in the U.S.  (Source: Cult of Mac)

Meanwhile, Apple has filed yet another ITC complaint against HTC, this time alleging that the new HTC Flyer tablet infringes on its intellectual property.  (Source: HTC)
Apple will have to pay up -- or negotiate a settlement

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has put Taiwan's HTC Corp. (SEO:066570) in a very bad spot.  The larger, more profitable gadget maker has hit HTC with a series of lawsuits worldwide, and recent scored a favorable preliminary ruling, which could lead to a complete ban on HTC handsets in the U.S.

But HTC appears to have some leverage, now.  In an unsealed ruling dating back to July 1, it has been declared that Apple infringed on intellectual property of recent HTC acquisition S3 Graphics.

The IP in question covers image compression techniques in software and hardware.  The U.S. International Trade Commission Judge James Gildea ruled that while Apple's popular iPad, iPhone, and iPod lines of mobile gadgets are not in violation of the IP, some of Apple's Mac OS X computers are.  

As NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) is a licensee, units with its GPUs are not in violation.  However, models with graphics by Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) or integrated graphics from Intel Corp.'s (INTC) (such as the newly refreshed MacBook Air lineup) are in violation.

The ruling thus clears the way for a partial ban on the import of Macs.  As virtually all Macs are manufactured outside the U.S. (mostly in Asia), this would be a major blow to Apple's booming computer lineup, which posted in $17.5B USD computer sales last year.

The judge also ruled that two of S3's patents in the case were invalid, and that some of the minor claims within the two valid patents were invalid.

While the ruling was "unsealed" (made official), it has not yet been made available to the public as the companies are reportedly quibbling about what constitutes redaction-worthy confidential information in the document. Bloomberg reported on the release, based on early information.

The ruling now goes before a full six judge ITC panel for confirmation.

While a ruling which found Apple's iPad and iPhone -- which accounted for 46 percent of its revenues last year -- would have been even better, the victory gives HTC substantial leverage to broker a cross-licensing agreement, which could save HTC from a similar import ban on its smart phones.

Meanwhile, Apple filed two weeks ago, on July 15, a new ITC complaint against the HTC Flyer tablet, which it says infringes on several of its patents.  Of course, if the companies can come to terms, HTC's tablet lineup would, in theory, be covered under a cross-licensing agreement, as well.

If the S3 IP can save HTC from Apple's litigious wrath, that $300M USD acquisition, which was blasted by investors, could just turn out to be a great deal.

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What do they know?
By tng on 7/27/2011 9:54:27 AM , Rating: 1
that $300M USD acquisition, which was blasted by investors, could just turn out to be a great deal.
Wall Street and financial types understand numbers but not technology. Wall street still refers to Amazon as a "Tech" company, when really Amazon is just about like Wal Mart online.

I don't think that this will be enough to stop Apple, if they really are like Jason Mick says out to "eliminate the competition". If they are not they will sign agreements.

RE: What do they know?
By hkscfreak on 7/27/2011 12:26:15 PM , Rating: 3
you, sir need to do your research. Amazon is very much a software company. They just happen to write software to sell stuff.

RE: What do they know?
By tng on 7/27/11, Rating: 0
RE: What do they know?
By KentState on 7/27/2011 1:59:59 PM , Rating: 3
You are really uneducated about the software and services that Amazon offers. MS is very much afraid of the cloud services offerings as they are much further ahead of Azure at this point.

Is the Kindle not new technology that Amazon develops and supports fully?

RE: What do they know?
By tng on 7/27/2011 6:37:47 PM , Rating: 2
Is the Kindle not new technology that Amazon develops and supports fully?
Did Amazon develop it? did Amazon have someone else do it for them? That would make sense, hiring hardware engineers in house for a project is may or may not be cost effective, I don't know.

However you don't really get it. Kindle is a means to an end, selling books. You sell the Kindle once, yes probably for a small profit, but if that purchase spurs the purchase of 100, 200, or 300 books in the future, that is real profit and continuing business that brings them back to the website.

Designing user interfaces so your shopping experience online is easier, is yes software development, but again just a means to an end, not the point.

RE: What do they know?
By KentState on 7/27/2011 1:56:39 PM , Rating: 3
Oh you mean the tech like their cloud services that are built in house? I'm sure they just slapped it together since they aren't a tech company.

RE: What do they know?
By tng on 7/27/2011 7:05:39 PM , Rating: 2
Still don't think so. Is their cloud service still just the means to an end, selling more product? Are they selling the cloud software itself to companies that want to provide those services themselves from their servers?

RE: What do they know?
By tng on 7/27/2011 7:13:50 PM , Rating: 2
You still don't understand the original point maybe. If Amazon and Ebay have a bad year, the "tech sector" gets hammered. Places like Dell, TI, Intel, MS and other companies get hammered even though they may have had decent earnings and their products are not affected by the same market forces. Something I have noticed for a long time.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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