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Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 09:03 pm PT (12:03 am ET)

ITC pushes back final ruling in Apple suit against HTC to Dec. 19

HTC announced late Tuesday that the International Trade Commission has postponed its final ruling in Apple's lawsuit against the Taiwanese handset maker, with the final decision now scheduled to arrive Dec. 19.

An HTC spokesperson said the reason for the delay was unavailable, Reuters reports. The ruling was originally slated to arrive on Wednesday.

Apple came out ahead with the ITC judge's initial decision in July, as HTC was found to have violated two of Apple's patents relating to auto-detecting information and real-time signal processing. According to one analysis of Apple's claims, the patent violations may extend to "every Android device out there."

Though the ITC does not have the authority to issue fines for patent infringement, it does have the power to block imports of infringing devices. According to Canalys, HTC was the top smartphone maker in the U.S. last quarter with estimated shipments of 4.9 million. By comparison, Apple is estimated to have sold 4.6 million iPhones in the U.S. in the third quarter.

Intellectual property cases with the ITC are generally settled before an import ban is imposed, though it has been suggested that Apple, with its massive cash reserves, may not be interested in settling. Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs reportedly told then Google CEO Eric Schmidt as much in May 2010.

"I don't want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won't want it. I've got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that's all I want," Jobs said to Schmidt, according to his biographer Walter Isaacson.

Apple first sued HTC in March 2010, accusing the smartphone maker of violating 20 of its patents. HTC reportedly sent Jobs into a rage early that year when it released a phone that he felt aped the iPhone and its patented.

"I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong," Jobs reportedly said. "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

HTC has also fired back at Apple with its own lawsuits. Most recently, the company sued Apple with nine patents acquired from Google earlier this year.

The Taiwanese company had hoped to gain a bargaining chip against Apple by purchasing S3 Graphics, which had won an initial ITC finding of infringement against Apple. However, the commission overturned the ruling last month, stating that no violation had been shown. S3 has filed a second suit against Apple, but HTC is having second thoughts about its $300 million purchase of S3 now that the first case has been resolved in Apple's favor.