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HTC patent claim: Could the iPhone 5 and iPad be banned in US?

Apple’s dispute with Samsung may have come to an end, with the former emerging as the victor, but Apple’s involvement in legal wrangling over intellectual property rights is far from over.

The latest set of patents to be put under the spotlight are those relating to 4G mobile broadband technology, set to arrive in the UK later this year.

HTC owns the rights to some 4G related patents which it acquired “to protect itself and its customers from these aggressive tactics and to preserve its ability to compete in the United States.”

This means that HTC could potentially move to put a question mark over the 4G technology used in the third generation iPad and the upcoming iPhone 5.

HTC patents: What could be contested?

US International Trade Commission Judge Thomas Pender has said that he needs to be “certain a US patent is invalid” before reaching a decision over whether or not a patent should have been issued. This means that Apple may struggle to nullify the two patents held by HTC.

Apple has argued that HTC bought the patents with the sole intention of suing the firm. However, Pender told Apple lawyer Michael McKeon that this would not have a bearing on the case.

“I don’t care if they bought these patents to sue you or not. They are a property right,”

HTC patents: Could Apple stand to lose?

In order for HTC to be successful in any case it were to bring forward, under law the smartphone maker would have to prove that it is using the technology within the patents.

If HTC did emerge triumphant from such a case, there could be a chance that the iPhone 5 and iPad could be banned in the US – a devastating blow for the Californian tech giant.

The chances of this happening appear slim at the moment, however. Apple has plenty of its own LTE patents in conjunction with its partners, meaning it would have a very strong case if anything did go to trial.

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