A couple days ago, the US International Trade Commission (ITC)Â determined Taiwan-based smartphone manufacturer HTC infringes on 2 out of 10 Apple patents. This has resulted in potential unrest for the future of HTC’s Android smartphone offerings, and has caused HTC’s stock price to dip to a six month low, dropping more than 5% in early Monday morning trading. The company also issued a buyback of 20 million shares, to take place by September, a sign of confidence to show its investors.
The ITC will review the final decision, and if it remains clear HTC did infact infringe on two Apple patents, HTC Android-based smartphone imports could be banned by the USA.
Apple also filed a second patent infringement case against HTC on July 11th, and this added pressure could result in HTC either settling out of court with Apple, or licensing the patents at stake, but the latter seems unlikely according to FOSSpatents.
According to Yuanta Securities via the WSJ:
HTC could find ways to bypass the patents Apple says it infringed on, but developing the technology will take time and could involve performance compromises. The firm added that in a worst-case scenario, HTC would likely settle with Apple, leading to increased costs as the company could pay royalty fees of around US$3 per device to Apple.
This is a huge win for Apple, and could affect the future of Android smartphones. However, given the numerous lawsuits Apple is engaged in with others, such as Samsung, the legal battles to protect its patents are far from over.