On July 15th, an ITC judge decided that HTC infringed on 2 of the 4 patents that Apple used against HTC. Now, it seems that a U.S Trade Agency has formed a 6 person comission to review to validity of these 4 patents, and whether a correct interpretation has been made for three of the patents.
That means they could either invalidate Apple’s win, or they could make it so HTC is responsible for the infringement of just one patent, or two of them, or even of all three (in which case Apple would be even happier with the review).
Apple has accused HTC of “stealing” their technology from the iPhone in this trial, and HTC has stated that no matter the infringement, there are “alternate solutions in place” to work around the patents.
The patents that HTC has been found of infringing cover transmission of multiple types of data and a system that can identify phone numbers in an e-mail in a way that lets the user dial or store that number, while the other two relate to object-oriented programming, a way of writing and executing software.
HTC is obviously pleased with the decision to review the case and the patents involved, as there is a small chance they’d be found guilty of infringing on the 3rd patent, while there is a high chance of the commission invalidating at least one, if not both the patents that HTC has been found of infringing in the lawsuit.
This new commission has asked Apple to show them that they are using the inventions in the 2 patents in their products, and whether they are using them or not, could influence their decision.
In an August 25th filing, HTC said that 36% of the Android smartphones in USA are made by them, and banning the import of their phones would eliminate the most popular Android smartphone brand in USA. HTC has until December 6th to solve this somehow, or they risk having ITC ban their devices from USA (though I doubt it will go that far). Right now this commission review seems HTC’s best chance to escape those patent infringements.