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Friday, February 17, 2012, 04:33 pm PT (07:33 pm ET)

ITC dismisses HTC complaint against Apple

The U.S. International Trade Commission on Friday dismissed the first of a set of complaints HTC leveled against Apple, finding that the Cupertino, Calif., company did not violate a power management patent owned by the Taiwanese handset maker.

If HTC chooses not to appeal, today's dismissal could bring an end to its suit against Apple that was first lodged in May 2010 and has subsequently been whittled down to one out of an original five asserted patents, reports FOSS Patent's Florian Mueller.

The dismissal echoes an initial October 2011 determination by an Administrative Law Judge who found that no violation had occurred.

Following the initial finding, HTC brought the suit before the ITC for review in December and while the Commission granted an investigation, it would only do so with respect to the power management patent.

Muller believes that HTC's case is fundamentally weak, and was most likely a response to an Apple complaint against the company in March 2010. However, the two companies are still involved in a complicated battle that includes upcoming cases in the U.S. and Germany, and the results of those cases could have far-reaching implications.

In November 2011, the ITC dismissed another complaint against Apple, this time from S3 Graphics.

The complaint was thought to be motivated by Apple's suits against HTC's Android handsets as S3 Graphics and HTC were in the same family of companies.

The Taiwanese phone maker purchased S3 for $300 million when it appeared the company would win its case against Apple, though HTC later rued the decision when the complaint was dismissed.

As for the most recent ITC finding, HTC has the option of appealing the decision to the Federal Circuit, however no announcement of such plans has been made.