Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Apple narrows its second ITC case against HTC, drops one entire patent and 34 claims

Yesterday, Apple filed a motion in the investigation of its second ITC complaint against HTC (the one filed last summer). The motion entered the public record today. Apple withdraws all asserted claims of one patent as well as 34 claims from the four patents remaining in the investigation. This is a pre-trial streamlining effort. The evidentiary hearing will take place in August.

Originally, Apple asserted five patents. I listed them in this section of another post. Apple then replaced U.S. Patent No. 6,956,564, a patent on "portable computers" that Apple acquired from British Telecom, with U.S. Patent No. RE42,738, a reissued version of the '564 patent. Appe's motion withdraws all four asserted claims of the reissue patent as well as 34 claims from the four patents remaining in the investigation. Apple's motion contains a table that shows the impact of its latest streamlining. I have reformatted that table in HTML. Just like in Apple's original table, independent claims are identified in bold font. Here's the HTML version of the table:

U.S. Patent No.Proposed Terminated ClaimsClaims Remaining After Termination
RE42,7384, 28, 36 and 37None
7,469,3812, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 191, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17 and 20
7,844,9154, 7, 11 and 141, 2-3, 5, 8, 9-10 and 12
7,084,85915-1914, 20, 25 and 28
7,920,1291, 2, 8-10, 11, 17, 18-19, 21, 22, 24-263, 5-7, 12, 14-16 and 27-28

Prior to the latest motion, Apple had already dropped claims 15-19 and 21 of the '915 patent.

At this stage, Apple is still asserting 31 claims of four patents. There will have to be some further narrowing before and/or during and/or shortly after trial. I have no doubt about Apple's willingness to narrow the scope of the investigation step by step.

In the investigation of HTC's second complaint against Apple, some narrowing has already occurred (and been appealed) because five Google patents were thrown out by a judge. Also, Apple claims that HTC's assertion of two of the remaining three patents constitutes an abuse of standard-essential patents.

The parties are furthermore embroiled in an enforcement dispute relating to the import ban the ITC ordered last December over the '647 "data tapping" patent. The latest filing was an HTC letter.

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