HTC, Apple end patent suits battle

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HTC, Apple end patent suits battle

Taiwan’s leading smartphone maker HTC said Sunday it reached a global settlement with technology giant Apple, bringing an end to all outstanding litigation between the two companies.

The deal includes a 10-year licensing agreement over patents, HTC said in a statement, without providing further details.

“HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation,” HTC CEO Peter Chou said in the statement.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “We are glad to have reached a settlement with HTC. We will continue to stay laser-focused on product innovation.”

HTC and Apple were locked in more than 20 cases around the world including some pending a ruling of the International Trade Commission of the United States, according to an HTC official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Technology giants have taken to routinely pounding one another with patent lawsuits. Apple has accused HTC and other smartphone makers using Google’s Android mobile operating system of infringing on Apple-held patents.

“This is definitely a positive for HTC, especially when it is being knocked by poor sales,” Mars Hsu of Grand Cathay Securities told AFP.

Apple won an order last December from the U.S. International Trade Commission directing that HTC stop bringing offending smartphones into the United States effective April 19.

In May, U.S. mobile carrier Sprint said it had to delay the introduction of an Android smartphone from HTC after the devices were blocked by U.S. customs.

HTC’s net profit in the three months to September tumbled 79.1 percent from a year earlier to 3.9 billion Taiwan dollars ($133.1 million), down sharply from 18.64 billion Taiwan dollars.

Revenues totaled 70.2 billion Taiwan dollars, meeting the lower side of the 70 billion-80 billion range it had previously forecast. The revenues marked a sharp decline of 48 percent from a year ago when they were 135.82 billion Taiwan dollars.

In the latest of the series of lawsuits between the two companies, HTC in July said it was suing Apple in a district court in Florida but declined to elaborate as the case had entered formal litigation proceedings.

According to the Taipei-based Apple Daily newspaper, HTC claimed in the suit that Apple’s MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iPhone have infringed on two patents it acquired from Hewlett-Packard last year related to computer networks.

But HTC hailed a victory in July as a British court ruled that it did not infringe on Apple’s photo management patent while deeming three other Apple patents - for slide-to-unlock, multi-touch and multilingual keyboard capability - invalid.

HTC sells its own smartphones and also makes handsets for a number of leading U.S. companies, including Google’s Nexus One.

The company has recently unveiled a new series of smartphones to compete with Apple and Korea’s Samsung Electronics.

AFP

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