Thu, Dec 22, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Analysts play down Apple ruling’s impact on HTC

By Jason Tan  /  Staff Reporter

International brokerage analysts yesterday said the US International Trade Commission’s (ITC) ruling on the “647” patent would have only a limited impact on HTC Corp’s (宏達電) shipments to the US next year, despite the result being in favor of Apple Inc.

On Monday in the US, a six--member panel of the ITC partially upheld the preliminary findings of a patent complaint filed in March last year by Apple, finding the Taiwanese company had infringed one of four patents in Apple’s claims.

The patent HTC was found to be violating, the “647” patent, referring to a data detection capability that enables users to tap on a phone number or address contained in an e-mail to immediately call the number or locate the address on a map.

“While HTC lost the final ruling, it will likely have no material financial impact,” JPMorgan said in a report.

HTC did not need to settle urgently with Apple, given the unlikely shipment impact, and any decision on financial compensation would be decided by the district court, which could be a long process, it said.

“While the ITC announced an import ban, the time line, to -commence on April 19, implies that there would almost be no impact on HTC products,” JPMorgan added.

This is because HTC can still sell its products through the year-end festive period, it said.

Morgan Stanley retained its -“underweight” call on the stock, saying that regardless of the litigation, HTC has been losing out in the US as evidenced by its reduced shipment targets in the fourth quarter.

It added that the real threat comes from others in the Android camp, while wider distribution of the iPhone 4S has largely eaten into its pie, Morgan Stanley added.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs said that HTC’s share prices are expected to re-rate in the near-term on better-than-expected ruling results.

It sees attractive entry levels for HTC in the first quarter next year on its next product launches.

HTC shares rose by the 7 percent daily limit for the second consecutive day to close at NT$509 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday.

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