HTC is cleared by USITC of patent charges

Staff writer, with CNA

Mon, Mar 17, 2014 - Page 13

The US International Trade Commission (USITC) on Friday cleared Taiwanese smartphone vendor HTC Corp (宏達電) of infringing on imaging patents belonging to Flashpoint Technology Inc.

Taoyuan-based HTC filed a statement with the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Saturday saying it was pleased with the commission desicion, which is final.

The company added that it respects the intellectual property rights of others, but said it would continue to fight any further unfounded accusations filed by patent licensing companies, referring to firms like FlashPoint, which was founded by former Apple Inc employees in 1996.

In 2012, FlashPoint filed a complaint with the commission, accusing HTC and China’s Huawei Technologies Co (華為) and ZTE Corp (中興) of violating four FlashPoint’s patents for smartphone cameras.

One of the four patents in question was dropped from the case.

In a preliminary decision made in late September last year, an administrative from the commission judge said that two HTC smartphones models infringed on one of FlashPoint patents, while Huawei and ZTE were both cleared.

However, in a review of the September ruling, the commission found no incidences of patent theft by HTC, bringing the case to an end.

It was the second time the Taiwanese firm has won a patent case initiated by FlashPoint.

In November 2011, the commission ruled that some of HTC’s electronic imaging devices, including those used in its Android and Windows Phone 7 smartphones, had not infringed on patents owned by FlashPoint.

Last month, HTC settled all pending litigation with Finland’s Nokia Oyj.

Nokia first took action against HTC in 2012, accusing the Taiwanese firm of unauthorized use of its innovations.

The Finnish smartphone vendor has since asserted more than 50 patent infringements globally against HTC.

While the market has anticipated HTC will have to pay a handsome amount of royalties to Nokia under the settlement, the smartphone maker said the deal will not impose any material impact on its finances.