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ITC: HTC can’t use Google patents in legal fight against Apple

June 12, 2012

HTC and Apple are involved in a complex legal battle, with both companies suing each other for alleged patent infringement in the USA. But so far only Apple is receiving favorable verdicts, and the iPhone maker has just been granted another win with the ITC.

ITC Administrative Law Judge Thomas Pender ruled that HTC can’t use patents borrowed from Google in one of its cases against Apple, and therefore the Taiwanese company will only have three patents to attack with, out of the eight it initially started this ITC lawsuit with.

The judge ruled in favor of Apple saying that HTC does not have standing, or the right to sue, for those five patents. HTC “failed to acquire all substantial rights in the relevant patents,” FOSS Patents reports, which is why they have been thrown out of this lawsuit, at least temporarily.

HTC’s case against Apple will continue, but it’s not likely to see the five patents come back into play. Appeals are apparently possible for this ruling, but according to the publication HTC has little chances of success. Another alternative would be to see Google join this action against Apple, in which case the five patents will be used against the iPhone maker.

Google and Apple have not sued each other directly so far, although following the Google-Motorola acquisition they will face each other in courts in the future. Meanwhile, Apple has filed a third ITC lawsuit of its own against HTC, arguing that various new HTC Android devices are infringing certain patents. Apple has already obtained an import ban against HTC devices in a previous ITC patent-based case.