HTC Phones Don’t Infringe Apple Patents, U.K. Judge Says

By Kit Chellel

HTC Corp. (2498), Asia’s second-largest smartphone maker, won a London court ruling against Apple Inc. (AAPL) over patents for touchscreen technology used for its mobile devices, including Apple’s slide-to-unlock feature.

HTC’s devices don’t infringe four Apple patents for the technology and three of those patents are invalid, Judge Christopher Floyd said yesterday.

The U.K. court judgment “marks a considerable defeat for Apple in the smartphone patent wars,” said Peter Bell, an attorney at Stevens & Bolton LLP, who isn’t involved in the case. “Two of Apple’s prize patents have been knocked out in the U.K.”

Apple is fighting patent lawsuits on four continents against rivals including HTC and South Korea-based Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) as it competes for dominance of the $219 billion global smartphone market. The firms have accused each other of copying designs and technology used in mobile devices.

“Competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours,” Cupertino, California-based Apple said in an e-mailed statement, without commenting specifically on yesterday’s decision.

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