U.S. Trade Body to Look into HTC Complaint Against Apple

Mobile phone maker claims patent infringement, seeks ban on imports of Asian-manufactured Apple products.

The U.S. International Trade Commission said Friday that it will investigate a patent infringement complaint by Taiwan-based mobile phone maker HTC Corp. against Apple.

HTC, the target of a patent suit by Apple in March alleging infringement of iPhone patents, filed a complaint with the Washington-based ITC last month seeking a ban on imports of Asian-manufactured iPhones, iPods and iPads into the United States.

HTC alleged that Apple products infringed five HTC patents and seeks to have them barred from being imported into the United States from their manufacturing facilities in Asia.

The ITC, an independent U.S. agency which has the power to ban imports, said in a statement that it had agreed to open an investigation "of certain portable electronic devices and related software" based on the complaint filed by HTC.

HTC, which stands for High Tech Computer Corp., is Taiwan's leading smartphone maker.

The company makes handsets for a number of leading U.S. companies and is the manufacturer of the Nexus One, unveiled by Apple rival Google in January.

Apple in March accused HTC of infringing on 20 Apple patents related to the "user interface, underlying architecture and hardware" of the iPhone.

Apple, which is based in Cupertino, Calif., filed the lawsuit in a U.S. District Court in the state of Delaware and with the ITC.

In the suit, Apple, which has sold more than 50 million iPhones worldwide, asked for unspecified damages and an injunction to prevent HTC from making or selling products using the patents in dispute.

Patent lawsuits are a regular occurrence among technology giants and Apple is currently being sued by Nokia for patent infringement. Apple has fired back a countersuit against the Finnish mobile phone giant.

Canada's Research in Motion, maker of the Blackberry, and U.S. mobile phone maker Motorola announced a settlement on Friday of their long-running patent disputes.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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