Thursday, December 22, 2011
Apple scores limited victory in smartphone patent war
Apple Inc scored a narrow victory against Taiwan’s HTC Corp in a patent lawsuit over smartphone technology that will set the stage for further battles between the rival makers in the fiercely competitive market.
In a case seen as a proxy for a larger fight between Google Inc’s Android operating system and Apple’s iOS, the US International Trade Commission ruled that HTC infringed on one of four patents Apple had disputed and imposed a sales ban on some of the Taiwan maker’s phones.
While the ruling is unlikely to hurt HTC as much as initially feared because it will have time to work around the offending technology and has until April before the ban becomes effective, it offers Apple ammunition to pursue other makers it believes infringe on its technology.
“This is one skirmish in one battle, which is forming a much larger war and each side has got some ammunition left,” said David Wilson, a London-based partner at the intellectual property group with Herbert Smith LLP.
The patent in question, ‘647, relates to technology that helps users clicking on phone numbers and other types of data in a document, such as an email, to either dial directly or click on the data to bring up more information.
As it is widely used in almost all smartphones, industry experts foresee similar rulings should Apple bring other cases. -Reuters