ITC Delays Final Ruling in Apple vs. HTC Complaint

The U.S. International Trade Commission announced Monday a delay of a decision in a complaint Apple brought against Android device maker HTC. The ruling had been scheduled for Tuesday, December 6th, but is now scheduled for Wednesday, December 14th.

Apple vs. HTC

In the myriad of cases and complaints between the two companies, this ruling is the first in front of the ITC that qualifies as a “final ruling.” The full commission is reviewing a decision handed down in July of this year, when Administrative Law Judge Carl Charneski ruled that HTC’s Android smartphones violated two patents owned by Apple, though he also ruled that HTC was not infringing on two other Apple patents.

The two patents being violated are for a “System and method for performing an action on a structure in computer,” and a “Real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data.”

The full commission is effectively free to do what it wishes. It could uphold the original decision, or it could overturn any aspect of that decision, too. If it does uphold Judge Charneski’s decision, the next step would be to decide whether or not to grant Apple a ban on HTC devices into the U.S., or it could mete out some other form of punishment.

There are other infringement claims Apple has launched, and those cases are still working their way through the first stage of the ITC process, and HTC has its own cases that it brought against Apple. The companies also have complaints lodged with international regulatory agencies and court cases both in the U.S. and abroad.

Apple is pursuing the ban against HTC, which the iPhone maker has accused of stealing its inventions. If the company wins such a ban, HTC will have to either modify its devices to cease the infringing behavior or stop selling smartphones in the U.S.

ITC staff has already offered its opinion that there is no threat to public interest if HTC’s devices should be banned, but the full ITC commission has wide latitude in what it can decide.