The U.S. International Trade Commission has dismissed a complaint from S3 Graphics against Apple, ruling the Cupertino company has shown no violation of the patents held by S3, and terminating the investigation.
Notice is hereby given that the U.S. International Trade Commission has determined that no violation of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. § 1337) has been shown in the above-captioned investigation and that the investigation is terminated.
It’s unclear why the ITC overruled the Administrative Law Judge, but according to FOSS Patents, it’s possible S3’s patent claims were invalid, or that Apple already has the relevant licenses.
The ruling will be a big blow to HTC, which is in the process of acquiring S3 Graphics, and would have hoped the case would provide leverage against Apple in its other cases. The Taiwanese smartphone giant has already filed its first ITC complaint against Apple, however, an Administrative Law Judge has already made the initial determination that there is no violation. Again.
Apple’s first complaint against HTC is a different story, however. The ALJ has made the initial determination that HTC has infringed two of Apple’s patents, and the ITC is set to make its ruling on December 6 this year.
In other words, in the outcome of the first battle in the smartphone patent wars, Apple’s already winning. If that precedent keeps up, things are looking bleak for Android makers.