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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 nolisi on 7/27/2011 2:50:19 PM , Rating: 2
most know in their hearts but would never admit it that Android OS is a clone of iOS

This statement could not be more blatently false and ignorant based on both business model and functionality:

1) Functionally, Google integrated into Android has multiple methods of interface including features like voice recognition and swype which work anywhere in the OS, while Apple's interface only recently recieved a port of Swype, and voice recognition is still a bit limited.

2) The Google market is a more open model, and they allow most apps which compete with Google made applications. The model may have closed a bit, but that was as a response to certain security issues, not to copy Apple.

3) OTA updates to the OS- Apple still hasn't released this...

4) Greater carrier control over the device

The list of differentiating factors as well as the list of where Google beat Apple in terms of functionality is fairly substantial. To call Android a clone of iOS is simply ignorant when Apple is just starting to implement OS level features that Android has had for a least a year, as well as having a completely different business model.

RE: Gotta love it...
By Tony Swash on 7/27/11, Rating: -1
RE: Gotta love it...
By themaster08 on 7/28/2011 2:28:14 AM , Rating: 2
So by your pogic, any company that created an OS post-iOS is just a clone, regardless of differences in user interface, features and usability? The question is, what drugs do YOU take?

For a senior member of society, you sure come out with some childish crap.

RE: Gotta love it...
By Tony Swash on 7/28/2011 11:29:11 AM , Rating: 1
So by your pogic, any company that created an OS post-iOS is just a clone, regardless of differences in user interface, features and usability? The question is, what drugs do YOU take?

For a senior member of society, you sure come out with some childish crap.

This is what Android looked like in 2007.

Here’s an actual hardware prototype from then.

It didn’t look anything like an iPhone, nor like anything Apple would ever be interested in making. It looked like a BlackBerry or Windows Mobile phone — hardware keyboards and non-touch screens. That's because at the time Google was planning to clone the Blackberry.

But then iPhone was launched.

Now compare a 2010 Android design to a current iPhone.

Don’t tell me the iPhone has not completely reshaped the design and UI of smart phones including Android.

RE: Gotta love it...
By Pirks on 7/28/2011 1:08:02 PM , Rating: 2
The greatest artists steal ideas, didn't you hear that from Jobs? Don't be so thick Tony :)))

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