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Former Apple subsidiary loses patent spat with HTC

US trade commission says phone cameras don't violate FlashPoint IP

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The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled that HTC does not infringe on patents held by former Apple subsidiary FlashPoint Technology.

FlashPoint complained to the ITC about IP relating to digital cameras in the Taiwanese smartphone-maker's products.

An initial ruling by an ITC judge back in July found no violation and the rest of the commission backed that up yesterday.

"The Commission has determined to affirm the judge’s determination of no violation of Section 337 with respect to the ’769 patent on the bases that (1) the accused HTC Android smartphones and the accused HTC Windows Phone 7 (WP7) smartphones do not infringe the ’769 patent, and (2) respondent has established that it has an implied license to practice the ’769 patent with respect to the accused WP7 smartphones," the ITC ruling (PDF) read.

FlashPoint had also argued that mobile manufacturers Nokia, RIM and LG had violated a different patent, '606. Those investigations finished when the three telecoms firms settled with FlashPoint. HTC was also on the docket for that patent, but FlashPoint chose not to pursue it after settling with the other three.

Patent complainants like to bring their woes to the ITC because the commission is generally quicker than a lot of US courts and because it can stop the importation of products into America if it finds any wrongdoing.

HTC is just one of many smartphone-makers embroiled in patent battles around the world as handset and OS firms jostle for position in the lucrative market.

The Taiwanese firm has also been in the headlines recently over a dispute with IPCom in Germany. IPCom, which holds patents from Bosch, claims that it has a ban on all HTC phones in the country, while HTC insists that the patent in question only relates to a now-defunct model, and isn't valid anyway. ®

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