Trade judge rules for Apple in patent case

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Apple first filed suit against HTC, which makes phones that operate on Google’s Android operating system, in March 2010, alleging that HTC infringed upon 10 of its smartphone patents. The judge agreed that two of those patents were violated.

The ruling was a victory for Apple in its broader war against devices that use the Android operating system. Apple has already sued Samsung and may sue Motorola on the same basis.

If Apple's suit is successful, the companies could reach a licensing agreement in which HTC pays Apple for the use of its patents. If they do not reach an agreement, the ITC has the power to ban the sale of HTC products in the United States.

The ITC is a U.S. administrative agency and not a judicial court. Apple has also filed cases alleging patent infringement in district courts.    

“We are highly confident we have a strong case for the ITC appeals process and are fully prepared to defend ourselves using all means possible,” said Grace Lei, general counsel of HTC, in a statement.

The ITC is expected to make its final ruling by Dec. 6.