HTC may succeed in banning the Apple iPhone and iPad as a judge says that the Asian firm’s patents in its suit against Apple are likely valid.
The hint comes from Judge Thomas Pender of the US International Trade Commission where Apple and HTC are facing each other in a case that could lead to an injunction against the iPhone and the iPad.
Apple has argued in the case that HTC bought the patents just to use against the iPhone maker.
However, Judge Pender has said that that doesn’t have much bearing in the case. What is clear from the comments made by the judge is if Apple violated the patents.
“I don’t care if they bought these patents to sue you or not,” the judge told the lawyer representing Apple.
“They are a property right. Clear and convincing means something to me. I have to be pretty darn certain a U.S. patent is invalid,” Judge Pender added, Bloomberg reported.
Furthermore, the judge has hinted that the two patents HTC brought to the attention of the court are likely valid.
“Clear and convincing means something to me,” he said. “I have to be pretty darn certain a U.S. patent is invalid.”
The HTC patents in question cover 4G technologies.
HTC America Vice President Martin Fichter has testified in court about the importance of LTE to HTC.
“LTE products were particularly important to our strategy in 2011. We’re a pioneer in that field,” he said in court.
If HTC wins in this case, they will have leverage in requesting an injunction on Apple products that violate those patents. For this case, HTC has named the iPhone and the iPad.
As a side note, the case could have yielded information about the upcoming iPhone.
Judge Pender tried to elicit information from Apple lawyer Michael McKeon about the next iPhone.
The judge asked whether Apple will indeed launch the next iPhone, presumably the iPhone 5, next week.
However, the lawyer replied to this by saying he wasn’t privy to the information.
Furthermore, when Judge Pender asked McKeon whether the next iPhone “will be thinner and screen [will be made] bigger,” McKeon replied that “That’s what the blogs are saying.”
Apple is scheduled to release the next iPhone next week. The next iPad is likely to be launched sometime in the first quarter of next year.
Image from John.Karakatsanis on Flickr (CC)