Trade Commission to Hear Petition from HTC to Block iPhone Imports

The U.S. International Trade Commission will be reviewing HTC’s petition to block the imports of Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPhone because of alleged patent infringement, the agency said on Friday.

The ITC said on its website that the investigation is a starting point and does not mean a decision has been made on HTC’s May 12th complaint filed against Apple. The ITC is also investigating claims made against HTC by Apple over mobile phones based on Google’s Android OS.

The patent warfare between HTC and Apple has emerged amid a fiercely competitive smart-phone market as HTC, Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry and others fight for dominance in the smart-phone market. IDC Research analysts said on May 7th that shipments of smart phones rose 57% during the first quarter and the handset market grew by 22%.

HTC claims that Apple is infringing upon three of its patents related to telephone directories and two for power management.

In its own case before the ITC, Apple claims HTC is violating 10 of its patents, and an lawsuit pending in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, cites an additional 10 patents. 5 of the 10 patents in the trade agency case against HTC also are part of Apple’s patent disagreement with Nokia before the same commission.

A hearing on Apple’s complaint  against HTC and the 5 patents against Nokia is scheduled for March, 2011 with the judge’s findings to be released in June 2011.

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