ITC To Probe Apple As Mobile Patent War Hots Up

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has announced that it has begun to investigate IT giant Apple as a part of a copyright infringement lawsuit against the company, filed by mobile phone maker HTC.

HTC filed the case against Apple in May, urging the court to block imports of Apple's gadgets into the USA, citing five alleged copyright infringements, three relating to telephone directories and two relating to power management.

ITC is already looking into a complaint filed by Apple that accuses HTC of infringing patents relating to the iPhone's user interface, as well as a further 10 patents relating to hardware and software technologies.

The commission is also investigating other patent disputes including a lawsuit filed by Apple against Nokia, a lawsuit between Microsoft and HTC, and a third between RIM and Motorola.

The ITC has the power to prevent products being trading that violate US copyright and patent laws. It is yet to set a date for an initial hearing into the evidence with an administrative law judge.