ITC rules in Apple's favour in HTC patent dispute

HTC has lost another battle with the U.S. ITC after it lost a patent dispute case with Apple. It comes only months after Apple won a patent case against HTC for infringing its patents.

Apple did not infringe HTC's patents, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission, which dismissed the claim after it ruled on Friday.

The ITC said that HTC's claims that Apple infringed a patent pertaining to detecting power sources and powering down devices when they were not being used were not violated, in what draws to an close the latest battle of patent disputes last year saw erupt.

The case was brought in June 2011 by Taiwan-based HTC, and was ruled on in October 2011 when the ITC made a preliminary ruling in Apple's favour. HTC had asked the ITC to bar some imports and sales on the alleged infringing devices, such as the iPod touch, the iPhone and the iPad. HTC appealed, but the decision remained in its final determination.

HTC said it may appeal the ruling further: "We are disappointed by the Commission's ruling and look forward to reading the full opinion to understand its reasoning. We'll explore all options, including appeal,", said Grace Lei, HTC's general counsel in a statement.

But FOSS Patents author Florian Mueller believes HTC would struggle if it seeks to battle this case further. He said in a recent blog post: "It's too early to tell, but at the outset those claims certainly looked stronger than the complaint that was dismissed today -- whether they're strong enough is another question."

This isn't the first time HTC has taken a battering from the ITC, however. The trade authority found last year, in reverse, that HTC had infringed a patent belonging to Apple. The Cupertino-based giant had sought an injunction against the Android smartphone maker.

The infringing feature, which allowed users to select a phone number in an application to make a phone call, was removed from its phones and the ban was therefore never enforced.

Image source: Johan Larsson/Flickr.