ITC Staff Backs HTC, Nokia in Apple Patent Case

The U.S. International Trade Commission recommended that HTC and Nokia should not be found liable of patent infringement vs Apple Inc. Today marked the start of an ITC trial in Washington where Apple is attempting to ban imports of HTC's mobile phones into the US. They are also moving to block imports of some Nokia devices. This recommendation is not binding, but it does mark the bureaucratic position of the US government, ostensibly the will of the people, in this matter.

HTC and Apple have been duking it out over this for a while. Apple levied this suit in the beginning of March, last year. At this point, there are more than a dozen cases up in front of the ITC involving smartphones. Apple is fighting hard to protect it's patents. Some of them were applied for as many as 17 years ago, which means they're due to expire in a couple of years anyway. As of 1995, patents last twenty years.

"Advances in technology have made the patent moot," Pat Flinn of Alston & Bird of Atlanta said of the Apple patent for signal processing (#5848105). "The Apple iPhone doesn't practice the patent." The patent number there is also a link to the patent document on Google's patent website. It's all legalesed techno-greek to me. The ITC complaint is In the Matter Of Certain Personal Data and Mobile Communications Devices and Related Software, 337-710, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).

[via Bloomberg]