HTC withdraws critical patent in ITC case against Apple

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HTC on Monday withdrew a critical patent from its International Trade Commission complaint against Apple, bringing its number of asserted claims down to only two allegedly standard-essential patents.

The Taiwanese smartphone maker filed a motion to withdraw its U.S. Patent No. 7,765,414 for a "circuit and operating method for integrated interface of PDA and wireless communication system," dropping the number of asserted patents from eight to two, reports FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller.

HTC originally asserted the '414 patent alongside two others in its second ITC complaint against Apple in August 2011 and later added five more in September. The added IP was "on loan" from Google and in June 2012 was thrown out by Judge Thomas Pender. HTC's subsequent appeal was denied by the six-member Commission heading the ITC.

Apple filed a countersuit in June over alleged infringement of standard-essential 4G LTE patents, leveling FRAND abuse allegations against the Taiwanese company. Mueller notes that if Apple is successful in any of its many FRAND counterclaims or defenses, HTC's second ITC complaint will be rendered a failure. He goes on to say the iPhone maker can also win on the grounds of patent invalidity and non-infringement.

The '414 patent was the only patent HTC-owned patent in the complaint as the others were "borrowed" from Google and ADT.

Illustration of HTC's '414 patent. | Source: USTPO

In June, HTC dropped a separate ITC lawsuit against Apple which itself was an appeal of denied request to reopen a patent complaint first filed in February. HTC also has complaints in motion through S3 Graphics, a company purchased by the handset maker in 2011.

Most recently, Apple suggested HTC dodged an ITC-issued handset injunction after allegedly making "misstatements" to the U.S. Customs officials. The sales ban was the result of a December ruling that found HTC infringed on a "data detectors" patent for automatically detecting and creating links for digital information like phone numbers.

HTC's case against Apple will reach trial in about one month.