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English High Court dismisses Apple patent infringement claims

by on05 July 2012

HTC in the clear in Blighty

After a couple of successful injunction bids against Samsung, Apple has suffered a serious setback in Britain.

In a case filed against HTC, alleging patent infringement, the High Court ruled that three out of four Apple patents were invalid, while the fourth was valid, but not infringed upon.

The court found that parts of Apple’s slide-to-unlock patent were too obvious, along with its multitouch patent. Basically the court ruled to restore sanity and prove what tech hacks have been saying for years – Apple’s patents are simply too broad and they are essentially designed to abuse the broken US patent system.

The other patents in the case related to photo management and the use of different character sets in text messaging. The court dismissed them as well.

Of course, HTC is pleased with the ruling and it feels vindicated, but an Apple spokesperson told The Telegraph that competitors should create their own original technology rather than steal Apple’s.

The ruling could have serious ramifications on other infringement cases across Europe. Although continental legal systems do not rely on precedents like Anglo-Saxon systems, the ruling could still come into play.

Intellectual property specialist Peter Bell pointed out that Apple used some of the same patents to obtain injunctions against the likes of Motorola in Germany, and it also used them in other cases brought before European courts.

“A highly respected venue for patent litigation, [the High Court’s] findings could well influence the German and Dutch courts,” he argued.

However, Bell does not think the ruling will cause Apple to rethink its legal onslaught. It is more likely Apply will react by launching a counter-offensive.

More here.

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