A new report suggests Apple may have a hard time invalidating HTC’s data transmission patents, potentially leading to an import ban on select iOS devices. The Taiwanese manufacturer recently accused Apple of infringing on two of its IPs related to wireless networking. Furthermore, the company reiterated that the patents in question “are critical” to the use of 4G LTE. HTC acquired the patents in April 2011 for $75 million from ADC Telecommunications Inc.
“I don’t care if they bought these patents to sue you or not,” Judge Thomas Pender told Apple’s lawyer. “They are a property right. Clear and convincing means something to me. I have to be pretty darn certain a U.S. patent is invalid.”
While testimonies were given in court yesterday, detailed information hasn’t been made available to the public yet. Although, HTC reportedly touted the fact that it was the first company to sell Android and 4G handsets, and was “one of the first with touchscreens”. HTC America’s vice president, Martin Fichter, pointed out the company’s prominent 4G strategy, saying “LTE products were particularly important to our strategy in 2011. We’re a pioneer in that field.” Apple is claiming that HTC doesn’t have proper ownership rights of the patents, which Judge Thomas Pender says is an invalid argument.
At this point, it’s unclear if these patents will fall under FRAND law, which would require HTC to license its technology to Apple for a “reasonable” fee. It does seem unlikely that Apple’s next iPhone will be banned from being sold in the US, though. All we know for sure is that these agonizing lawsuits aren’t going away anytime soon.