Carl Charneski, Administrative Law Judge for the International Trade Commission, has ruled that HTC has stepped on two of Apple’s patents, following a review of a year-long infringement case between the two companies. Apple had originally claimed HTC was infringing on ten of their patents, but even two out of the batch are grounds for some solid licensing revenue. HTC intends to “vigorously” defend these two patents to the bitter end, but if push comes to shove, they expect that they’ll be able to develop “alternate solutions” (i.e. workarounds that stay outside the reach of Apple’s patents).
The patents in question are a “system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data” and a “real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data“. Pretty technical stuff. HTC had recently bolstered its already-potent patent portfolio by acquiring video chip manufacturer S3. As is, they already pay Microsoft $5 for every Android handset they ship, and if Apple ends up taking another cut, that will either raise costs or bite into HTC’s bottom line. This case could also set a precedent for complaints Apple has launched against other mobile manufacturers.
While this is good news for Apple, HTC still has an appeal process to go through, and the ruling is still subject to a full review from the six members of the ITC. We’ll see how that turns out. Anyone placing bets?