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The European Commission, the EU's powerful competition regulator, last month ordered Apple to reimburse a record 13 billion euros ($15 billion) in unpaid taxes in Ireland/FILE


Taiwan’s HTC hails US Apple patent ruling

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TAIPEI, Dec 20 – Taiwan’s leading smartphone maker HTC Tuesday hailed a victory following a “better-than-expected” US ruling that it had partially infringed a patent owned by the US technology giant Apple.

The US International Trade Commission on Monday ordered HTC to stop importing by April 19 smartphones in to the United States that used certain patents by Apple.

However, the commission said HTC had violated just one of the several patents claimed by Apple in a complaint filed by US firm in March last year.

The decision reversed a previous ruling that HTC had broken multiple claims of two separate patents.

“This decision is a win for HTC… We are very pleased with the determination and we respect it,” the company said in a statement.

The news was welcomed by investors, with HTC shares closing up by their seven percent daily limit at Tw$476.0 in Taipei trading.

HTC described the patent it had broken as a “small user interface experience” and it would “completely remove it from all of our phones soon”, meaning it was unlikely to affect the firm’s sales in the United States too much.

“The outcome of the final ruling is better than the market had expected, as most of the affected items were old models the company put on the market last year,” said Mars Hsu of Grand Cathay Securities.

“Besides, I believe HTC has sufficient time to make adjustments on its design and marketing strategy before April 19.”

HTC touts its own brand of smartphones and also makes handsets for a number of leading US companies, including Google’s Nexus One.

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Patent lawsuits are a regular occurrence among technology giants. Apple is currently being sued by Finland’s Nokia for patent infringement, and has fired back a countersuit against the mobile phone giant.

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