ITC to Investigate HTC Following Apple Complaint

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The U.S International Trade Commission will be moving forward with an investigation into cell phone maker HTC based on a complaint filed by Apple. The complaint focused on HTC’s use of touch-based technologies in its smartphones and claims that the company is infringing on 20 Apple-owned patents.

Apple filed its complaint with the ITC in March along with a patent infringement lawsuit that targets HTC’s smartphones and their use of Google’s Android operating system. HTC is denying any wrong doing.

“We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it,” commented Apple CEO Steve Jobs when the lawsuit was filed. “We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”

HTC CEO Peter Chou replied with “HTC disagrees with Apple’s actions and will fully defend itself.”

HTC makes several smartphone models, including some that use Google’s Android platform such as the Nexus One. Google’s Android platform shares some similarities to the iPhone OS, and there has been speculation that Android’s multi-touch support is one of the areas Apple plans to target in court.

Should the ITC find that HTC is in fact using Apple-owned patents in its products without proper licensing, the agency could block its products from being imported into the United States. A ruling, however, isn’t likely to come for some time. The ITC has 45 days to set its target date for finishing its investigation, so it could be months before a ruling is available.

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