HTC loses ITC patent ruling to ban Apple products

Smartphone maker HTC has lost its bid to have the US International Trade Commission rule that Apple violated four of its patents. The company has said it plans to appeal.

In the complaint, which was filed in May of last year, HTC alleged that Apple had violated patents relating to power management and phone number directories, and asked that the ITC ban the import of Apple devices that infringed the patents.

The ITC ruling on Monday follows an investigation launched in June 2010.

HTC said it had not yet received a full report on ITC's findings, HTC General Counsel Grace Lei said in a statement: "This is only one step of many in these legal proceedings. We are confident we have a strong case for the ITC appeals process and are fully prepared to protect our intellectual property."

The ruling is the latest in a number of patent disputes between rival smartphone makers. Apple last week won a ruling in a Sydney court banning the sale of the South Korean company's Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia. Yesterday, Samsung hit back with applications to ban Apple's newly launched iPhone 4S in Australia and Japan, with additional bids to halt iPad 2 and iPhone 4 sales in Japan.

Apple filed a complaint against HTC, alleging that the company had infringed its patents. In July, an initial determination from the ITC ruled in Apple's favour. If the judgment becomes final, it could result in HTC being banned from importing its handsets into the United States.