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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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RE: Gotta love it...
By xype on 7/27/2011 10:59:14 AM , Rating: -1
…not crush the competition.

So this is about disabling the competition? How come Windows Phone 7 can get by, then? Because Microsoft has enough self-respect to at least try not to copy Apple outright?

It’s naive to think Apple has the might to "crush" a company like Samsung, nor would they really want to. But Google with Android and Android vendors have stung Apple in a way that hurts and hurts a _lot_.

This is what Android looked like, and Schmid was on Apple’s board of directors when the iPhone came about—don’t you think Apple might have a good reason to be completely pissed at Google?

RE: Gotta love it...
By ClownPuncher on 7/27/2011 11:25:21 AM , Rating: 5
Let me guess, you listen to Moby and drive a VW painted to match the color of your iPhone?

RE: Gotta love it...
By xype on 7/27/11, Rating: -1
RE: Gotta love it...
By ClownPuncher on 7/27/2011 11:37:32 AM , Rating: 5
Yes. Would you like to come over to play Madden and have some Hostess snacks? Mum says I can't go outside due to my "condition".

RE: Gotta love it...
By StevoLincolnite on 7/27/2011 3:22:19 PM , Rating: 5
Mum says I can't go outside due to my "condition".

I tried going outside once, the graphics weren't to bad, but the game-play totally sucked.

RE: Gotta love it...
By AssBall on 7/27/2011 4:32:53 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah the NPC's had crappy quests too. Mow the lawn? I mean come on is that the best they can come up with?

RE: Gotta love it...
By Totally on 7/27/2011 6:12:54 PM , Rating: 5
and the 1-life, no auto-save BS, I think I'll pass

RE: Gotta love it...
By AssBall on 7/27/2011 11:42:32 AM , Rating: 5
You used "Apple" and "good reason" in the same sentence.


RE: Gotta love it...
By Avatar28 on 7/27/2011 12:10:15 PM , Rating: 2
So this is about disabling the competition? How come Windows Phone 7 can get by, then? Because Microsoft has enough self-respect to at least try not to copy Apple outright?

Partially that although I think it's more that MS has several times the number of patents that Apple does and they have been in the smartphone/pda/tablet business a lot longer than Apple has. Windows Phone has not prove to be enough of a threat to Apple (yet) for them to risk getting into a patent pissing contest with MS. They would have a lot more to lose if/when MS countersued. MS and Apple also had a patent cross-licensing agreement dating back to 1997 that may or may not be a factor as well.

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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