The US International Trade Commission (ITC) [official website] on Friday voted to launch an investigation [press release] into allegations made by HTC Corp accusing Apple [corporate websites] of patent infringement on certain portable electronic devices. HTC filed a complaint with the ITC in May [JURIST report] claiming that Apple had infringed on five of HTC's patents, and is seeking an exclusion order and a cease and desist order, which would ban Apple's importation of iPhones, iPads and iPods. The complaint alleges violations of § 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 [text], which regulates the importation and sale of certain portable electronic devices that infringe patents in the US. The ITC's Chief Administrative Law Judge will assign the case to one of the commission's six administrative law judges, who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. The judges will make an initial determination of whether Apple violated § 337, and that determination will be subject to review by the commission as a whole. The commission stated that a target date for completion will be determined within 45 days of the investigation's commencement.
In March, Apple filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against HTC in the US District Court for the District of Delaware [official website] alleging that several of HTC's products infringe 10 patents owned by Apple. Apple also filed a complaint [text, PDF] against HTC with the ITC claiming infringement of 10 other Apple patents, seeking to bar the importation of infringing devices. Apple has recently been involved in numerous legal actions over alleged patent infringement. In October, Finnish telecommunications company Nokia [corporate website] filed suit [JURIST report] against Apple alleging that Apple infringed 10 of its patents since the first iPhone was released in 2007. The patents cover wireless data transmission, speech coding, and security/encryption.