US trade body rejects S3 'Apple nicked our IP' claim

Early 'did infringe' ruling ruled out

S3 Graphics

Apple has not ridden roughshod over 3S Graphics' intellectual property rights, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) has decided.

S3, a company owned by Taiwan's VIA that designs graphics chips, complained to the ITC in May 2010, claiming Apple's iDevices and Macs make use of technology it owns - and do so without its permission.

Said technology covers techniques for compressing data for transmission and decompressing the information upon receipt, and is enshrined in four US patents owned by S3.

In July 2011, an internal ITC review's preliminary findings were published: Apple had violated two of S3's patents.

After review, the case goes up to the ITC's main judicial panel, but its members this week decided that none of the four patents had been infringed by Apple.

In the light of the initial finding, S3 may yet appeal against the latest ruling.

Putting patent infringement cases to the ITC has become a common tactic in such battles. Judgements can come more quickly than redress through the court system, and a victory holds open the tantalising prospect - for the plaintiff - that the ITC will ban the infringing device from being imported into the US.

Apple is currently fighting off patent infringement claims from Motorola, Samsung and HTC, to name but three. ®

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