ITC starts investigation of iPhone maker following HTC lawsuit about alleged patent infringement

US begins Apple probe

The US International Trade has opened an investigation into whether Apple has infringed on HTC’s technology, as the smartphone rivals continue their legal wrangling over hardware and software patents.

HTC is looking to secure a ban on the US importation and sale of the iPhone, iPad and iPod, just days after Steve Jobs unveiled the new iPhone 4.

According to the ITC’s statement, the case concerns devices that “utilize certain power management methods and may incorporate hardware and software for telephone directories within mobile telephone systems.”

“We are taking this action against Apple to protect our intellectual property, our industry partners, and most importantly our customers that use HTC phones,” Jason Mackenzie, HTC’s vice president of North America, said when the firm filed its lawsuit in May.

HTC submitted a complaint to the ITC last month after Apple launched a lawsuit against the Taiwanese firm in March for allegedly infringing on 20 patents related to the iPhone’s “user interface, underlying architecture and hardware”.

Apple is also being sued in a separate case by Elan Microelectronics, which is demanding that the ITC bans Apple from importing or selling the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, MacBook or Magic Mouse in the US. According to the firm, these devices’ multi-touch enabled touchpads or touchscreens infringe its patent.

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