A US trade judge has hinted that Apple will have difficulties invalidating patents owned by HTC in an ongoing legal battle, possibly opening the door for a US import ban on Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices, according to a Bloomberg report.
Judge Thomas Pender said last week that he has to “…be pretty darn certain a U.S. patent is invalid” while referring to the legal standard for deciding that a patent should not have been issued. The implication is that Apple may have their work cut out for them invalidating two patents HTC holds concerning LTE transmission of data.
Should Apple fail and are found to infringe on HTC’s patents, the Taiwanese company will have an opportunity to ask that Apple’s latest iPad, which utilises LTE technology, and perhaps the iPhone 5 be barred from sale in the United States.
A more likely situation for HTC, should the case swing their way, will be that the company would be able to get Apple into a settlement agreement. HTC has previously been found to have infringed on two of Apple’s patents in a case that was started in early 2010. Already this year HTC has come out on top over Apple in a UK ruling concerning four patents. The ruling invalidated three of Apple’s patents and found that HTC did not infringe on the fourth.