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Apple’s ‘Other’ Patent Fight Gets Slimmed Down

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been busy in the courts lately. Many are keeping their eyes on central California for the epic patent battle between Apple and Samsung, the top two smartphone companies. However, another court battle involving the Apple of technology’s eye has been pretty quietly gotten trimmed down a bit. Before the International Trade Commission, Taiwan-based smartphone maker HTC has decided to scale back its official ITC complaint against Apple from eight patent claims down to just two, which HTC contends involve “industry-standard” patents.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)

Similar to the Samsung case, Apple is working very hard to portray itself as the innovator of mobile communications by saying that their patents are not industry-standard because there was no industry prior to the patents being aproved. The reasoning is that if there was no industry to standardize, then Apple’s patents should stand as something only they can use in their devices, while the rest of the now-formed industry would have to come up with their own “indsutry standards.” But also liek the Samsung case, HTC is fighting for an open market of competition, where the patents are for functions that allow the industry to exist and thus the patents should be open to everyone to use and improve upon for the sake of the marketplace and for competition.

HTC originally had eight patent claims – five of which were on loan from Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), though those were thrown out of court earlier – and decided to drop one so that the decision would be made on only two patent claims. Apple, however, not one to sit idly by, countersued and had, at one time, successfully blocked the import of EVO 4G LTE and HTC One X handsets because they had been found to infringe on one of Apple’s patents.  Once HTC issued a software fix, those handsets were allowed back inot the U.S., but Apple still maintains that HTC still infringes on patents with other handsets.

Like the Samsung case, this HTC patent issue also may go a long way toward determining whether apple gets one step closer to virtual dominance of the mobile industry, or whether other tech players will compete with Apple and Samsung.

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