Taiwan-based mobile handset manufacturer HTC has been dealt a setback in its patent infringement claim against Apple, after an initial ruling by a US trade authority sided with the California-based tech giant.
A judge at the Washington-based US International Trade Commission made an "initial determination" that Apple had committed "no violation" of patent law.
HTC, which stands for High Tech Computer Corp., is Taiwan's leading mobile phone manufacturer.
News on Monday of the initial ruling by the ITC interim judge Charles Bullock caused HTC shares to fall by 4.7 percent in Taipei.
The finding is subject to review from the six-member trade commission, which could decide to affirm, reverse, remand, modify or set it aside when it issues a "final disposition" on the case.
An ITC spokeswoman said a decision would be made in the next 60 days on whether the commission will review the ruling. If it chooses not to, the judge's finding will stand.
If the commission chooses to take up the matter, the panel will have four months, until February 17, 2012, to issue a definitive finding in the case.
HTC filed its complaint last year with the ITC, a quasi-judicial federal body seeking to halt the importation and sale of the iPhone, iPad and iPod in the United States.
HTC is also the target of a patent suit by Apple alleging infringement of iPhone patents.
Apple, in its lawsuit, has asked for unspecified damages and an injunction to prevent HTC from making or selling products using the patents in dispute.
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