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ITC judge finds Apple did not violate four HTC patents

A judge with the U.S. international Trade Commission ruled on Monday against HTC in a patent infringement lawsuit it filed against Apple.

The preliminary decision found that Apple was not in violation of four patents related to power management and phone dialing, according to Reuters. The full commission will decide to uphold or reject the judge's decision on February 17.

The complaint stems from May of 2010, when HTC filed its lawsuit with the ITC and asked for the commission to ban the importation of iPhone, iPad and iPod products into America. Judge Charles Bullock found that HTC's patents were valid, but Apple was not in violation.

Reacting to the news, analyst Mike Abramsky from RBC Capital Markets said Apple's victory is yet another positive for the company, as it has found continued legal success against Android device makers. In its most high profile victories, Apple has managed to bar the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany and Australia.

Monday's decision represents just one of many ongoing lawsuits between Apple and HTC. Abramsky noted that a final ITC ruling is expected on Dec. 6 for another Apple lawsuit against HTC, in which the commission found that HTC violated two patents owned by Apple.

Even sooner, on Nov. 1, a final ruling is expected in another HTC suit against Apple, in which HTC has accused it rival of violating patents owned by S3 Graphics. The ITC ruled in July in a preliminary decision that Mac OS X is in violation of the S3 patents, but the iPhone and iPad are not.

However, subsequently the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office invalidated S3's patents, and chipmaker AMD is claiming ownership, casting even more confusion into the sprawling legal showdown between HTC and Apple.