HTC products could face an import ban in the US after a judge at the International Trade Commission (ITC) found in an initial determination that the Taiwanese manufacturer had infringed two Apple patents.
The move could also mean more trouble for Google's Android operating system, which powers the HTC handsets in question, as the patents are at the heart of the platform, according to patents expert Florian Mueller.
"Those patents are apparently infringed by code that is at the core of Android. It's telling that those two patents are also at issue between Apple and Motorola (and the '263 patent was also used by Apple against Nokia)," he wrote in a blog post.
"A while after Apple started suing HTC, Motorola filed a declaratory judgement action against a dozen Apple patents including those two. Apple then counterclaimed by asking the court to determine that those patents are valid and infringed by Motorola. So the relevance of this goes way beyond HTC."
Mueller explained that Apple could allow HTC a licence to use its technology, although this seems unlikely with a second complaint with HTC already filed with the ITC, and three federal lawsuits pending.
"Android is also under fire in dozens of federal lawsuits. By my count, there are 49 Android-related infringement suits (federal and ITC)," explained Mueller.
"A very prominent one is Oracle's lawsuit against Google, and the judge presiding over that case has raised very serious questions about the possibility of Google's intentional infringement of Java-related intellectual property."
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