A U.K. judge has ruled in favor of HTC over claims that the Taiwanese smartphone vendor infringes four of Apple’s patents for touchscreen technology, including its famous slide-to-unlock feature. Judge Christopher Floyd decided that HTC’s smartphones are not guilty of infringement, and that three of Apple’s four patents are invalid.
Apple is currently battling rivals like HTC and Samsung over alleged patent infringements on four continents, leading to preliminary injunctions against devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and the HTC One X. The majority of these cases have gone Apple’s way in recent months, but not this one.
Floyd ruled that three of the four patents — which covered slide-to-unlock, tools used to scroll through photographs and change alphabets, and multitouch — were invalid; while the one valid patent, which covers photo-management, is not infringed by HTC.
Peter Bell, an attorney with Stevens & Bolton LLP, who isn’t involved with the case, said that the U.K. court ruling “marks a considerable defeat for Apple in the smartphone patent wars.”
“Two of Apple’s prize patents have been knocked out in the U.K.”
In a short statement to Bloomberg, Apple didn’t specifically mention today’s decision, choosing instead to provide a response we’ve heard many times from the company:
“Competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”
As you would expect, HTC is delighted by today’s ruling, but it remains “disappointed that Apple continues to favor competition in the courtroom over competition in the marketplace.”