Apple keeps the pressure on HTC with new patent complaint

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Apple is ratcheting up its patent war against HTC, filing a new complaint with the International Trade Commission seeking the ban of more “personal electronic devices” including tablets. The new filing comes after an initial complaint lodged against HTC last year and a similar case filed last week by Apple against Samsung.

It shows Apple is keeping up the pressure on Android manufacturers and is intent on pursuing its claims, even in the face of setbacks. The ITC staff recently recommended denying Apple’s first complaint against HTC, though a final ruling is expected Aug. 5. The ITC has 30 days to decide whether to investigate Apple’s latest complaint.

The latest skirmish raises the stakes for HTC in particular and Android manufacturers in general. This is, according to patent expert Florian Mueller, the 48th lawsuit or complaint against an Android maker and there’s little sign that the claims won’t keep coming. As we’ve discussed recently, there is a full court press on against Android being pushed by companies like Apple, Microsoft and Oracle that could have serious implications on Android if the separate intellectual property claims start to pile up.

The dispute between Apple and HTC has taken on a new dimension with HTC’s announced purchase of S3 Graphics. The ITC determined that Apple infringes on patents owned by S3, which helps improve HTC’s previously weaker IP standing. HTC has also countered Apple’s complaint last year with a case of its own with the ITC that sought to ban iPhone, iPad and iPod touch sales. But with HTC releasing more devices, including the Flyer tablet, it has given Apple another chance to assert new patent claims against the Taiwanese manufacturer.

Apple may be giving up on its first complaint and is hoping to do more damage with a second case against HTC. Or it could be that Apple needs to keep up the pressure in light of the S3 ruling. But either way, it means the patents wars show no signs of letting up, and Apple in particular could be ramping up to go after more Android makers.

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