The US International Trade Commission (USITC) has decided to launch a probe following a patent infringement complaint Apple Inc filed against Taiwan-based smartphone maker HTC Corp (宏達電).
The commission said in a statement released on Monday that it had voted to institute an investigation into the complaint filed by Apple on July 8, which accused HTC of infringing certain patents related to portable communications devices, such as user interfaces.
“The complainant requests that the USITC issue an exclusion order and a cease and desist order,” the statement said, which would in effect block the import and sale of HTC products in the US market.
The commission emphasized, however, that “by instituting this investigation, the USITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case.”
The commission said it would assign the case to one of its administrative law judges, who will schedule and hold a preliminary hearing on the complaint. The judge will come up with a preliminary ruling on the case and that decision is subject to a review by the commission.
The USITC will set a target date for completing the investigation 45 days after instituting the investigation.
Last month, in an initial ruling on another complaint filed by Apple last year, the commission found that HTC had infringed on two Apple patents used in mobile communications devices and said a final decision was expected in December. HTC has repeatedly vowed to fight the charges and safeguard its intellectual property rights.