A U.S. trade agency will investigate Apple’s patent-infringement claims against Taiwan’s HTC Corp. to determine if its phones using Google’s Android operating system should be banned from the U.S.
Last month Apple filed a lawsuit against HTC for infringing on 20 Apple patents related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture and hardware. The lawsuit was filed concurrently with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and in U.S. District Court in Delaware.
As many as 10 of those violations involve the Nexus One, Apple said in a complaint submitted to the ITC. The Delaware lawsuit, however, didn’t specify the HTC-made phones that allegedly violated Apple’s patents.
In a statement (http://www.usitc.gov/press_room/news_release/2010/er0331hh2.htm), the USITC says: “The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain personal data and mobile communications devices and related software. The products at issue in this investigation relate to hardware and software used in mobile communication devices, including but not limited to cellular phones and smartphones.
“By instituting this investigation, the USITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case. The USITC’s Chief Administrative Law Judge will assign the case to one of the USITC’s six administrative law judges (ALJ), who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. The ALJ will make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337; that initial determination is subject to review by the Commission.
“The USITC will make a final determination in the investigation at the earliest practicable time. Within 45 days after institution of the investigation, the USITC will set a target date for completing the investigation. USITC remedial orders in section 337 cases are effective when issued and become final 60 days after issuance unless disapproved for policy reasons by the U.S. Trade Representative within that 60-day period.”