US Judge says Apple may find it hard to invalidate HTC patents

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Taiwanese vendor accuses Apple of infringing two patents related to data transmission.

Apple Inc. might find it difficult to invalidate two HTC Corp. patents for data transmission in wireless devices, a U.S. trade judge said at a trial that could lead to import bans on the latest iPad and the next version of the iPhone, Bloomberg News reported Friday on its website.

“I have to be pretty darn certain a U.S. patent is invalid,” U.S. International Trade Commission Judge Thomas Pender said, according to the report.

Taiwan-based HTC is accusing Apple of infringing two patents it owns for ways to reliably transmit a greater amount of data, which it says are vital to a technology known as long-term evolution, or LTE, that allow faster downloads, the report said.

A victory might allow HTC to seek a ban on imports of the latest iPad and even the newest iPhone, if it uses LTE, when it’s unveiled soon, Bloomberg reported.

The case on trial was filed in August 2011. HTC acquired the patents at issue in April 2011 from ADC Telecommunications Inc for $75 million.

Mr. Pender said Friday that he probably won’t side with Apple’s argument that HTC didn’t have proper ownership rights of the two former ADC patents, the report said.