In a decision that could have some far reaching effects for Apple and the various cases it is currently pursuing against Android device manufacturer HTC, the International Trade Commission has ruled that Apple did not violate patents held by chip manufacturer S3 Graphics, reports Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents.
The official notice of judgement states that no violations by Apple were discovered and that the investigation is terminated. This is S3’s first complaint against Apple, although it still has one more in action.
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The case had been going on for some time, even before phone maker HTC acquired it in July of this year. HTC had purchased S3 in order to strengthen its stock of patents in the case that Apple has brought against it. HTC’s hope was that S3’s graphics-related patents would help it fight its battles.
S3 wasn’t HTC’s only hope though, as it’s case has also been bolstered by patents essentially gifted to it by Google. The Android maker has a stake in this as some of the patents involved in the infringement case that Apple has brought against HTC have the potential to affect all Android devices, not just those mande by them.
An ITC judge recently ruled that HTC was in violation of two of Apple’s patents. One of those patents, 6,343,263, for a ‘realtime API’ isn’t just a component of HTC’s devices, it’s a core component of Android and if that ruling was made to stick against it, it could affect the entire Android ecosystem, not just HTC.
“While the outcome is not what we hoped for, we will review the ruling once the commission provides it and will then consider all options, including appeal,” HTC told All Things D.
Losing this complaint is a definite blow to HTC, and could have some ramifications in the overall war, although there is still some 2o separate patent suits being tried in relation to Apple’s patents and HTC products.