A U.S. International Trade Commission judge issued an initial ruling that HTC violated two key patents owned by Apple, a move that dragged HTC’s stock to a six-month low in Taiwan trading and raised uncertainty about the company, writes Roger Cheng for CNET. In response, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt says his company will support its key Android partner in its patent fight with Apple.
“We have seen an explosion of Android devices entering the market and, because of our successes, competitors are responding with lawsuits as they cannot respond through innovations,” he said. “I’m not too worried about this.” When asked if Google would provide financial support to HTC if it loses, Schmidt said: “We will make sure they don’t lose, then.”
If the ITC makes a final decision that goes against HTC, the company could be banned from importing its smartphones. However, according to Cheng such bans rarely take effect because the companies involved typically come to a settlement. The HTC-Apple row could affect other handset manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics which is already in a patent fight against Apple.
Cheng says HTC has taken steps to defend itself, spending $300 million to buy S3 Graphics and its collection of patents. Apple is in violation of patents owned by S3, according to a separate initial ruling from the ITC. “In cases where both companies own valuable intellectual property, a cross-licensing agreement is typically reached,” he writes, citing deals struck by legal adversaries Qualcomm and Broadcom that struck deals after an ITC decision.
Read more at CNET.