Photo by izensun – http://flic.kr/p/7Qu37E

Not all patent defenses against Apple are created equally, HTC has learned. A trade court told the Android handset maker its shiny bundle of $ 300 million S3 patents aren’t infringed by Apple’s iPhone or iPad, and just partially by Mac OS X. The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled two HTC-owned S3 patents aren’t valid infringement cases while restraining the scope of the two others. While ruling Mac OS X were infringing about two of the image-compression firm’s patents, ITC judge James Glidea blunted the impact by noting Macs that use Nvidia graphics chips have an implied license to use the patents, reducing Apple’s ultimate liability. While the ruling, if upheld, could cause Apple to rejigger some Macs to prevent an import ban, most importantly, no iOS devices seem impacted by the decision. This greatly reduces HTC’s bargaining power to get a favorable licensing deal from Apple. Tuesday, an HTC executive told Bloomberg the Taiwan-based company wants to “sit down” with Apple and discuss settlement terms. The ITC had recently ruled against HTC in favor of Apple’s patent-infringement case, putting Android-based device manufacturers on notice.

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