Apple and HTC Settle Global Patent Lawsuits

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By Jerin Mathew | November 11, 2012 6:01 PM EST

A visitor looks over the new iPad mini.

Mobile phone makers Apple Inc and HTC Corp have agreed to settle their patent disputes across the globe and entered into a 10-year licence agreement with regard to the current and future patents held by both of them.

The companies announced the dismissal of all patent lawsuits between them in a joint statement, but they did not detail the terms of the settlement.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and HTC CEO Peter Chou say they were glad to reach the settlement.

"We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation," Cook said. Chou noted that HTC can "focus on innovation instead of litigation" following the settlement.

Marking the start of its legal war against Google's famous Android operating system, the iPhone maker sued Taiwan-based HTC in 2010 in the federal court in Delaware and before the International Trade Commission, charging that HTC had infringed its patented technology. HTC is one of the manufacturers using the OS for their smart phones and tablets.

Apple claimed that HTC copied the iPhone's pinch-to-zoom feature, while HTC countersued Apple for infringing its wireless patents it bought in 2011.

Subsequently, there had been legal battles between Apple and Android makers including Samsung and Motorola Mobility, which is now owned by Google.

Samsung, the biggest maker of handsets based on Android, lost in a lawsuit against Apple in August, resulting in damages of more than $1bn to Apple. However, A US District Court Judge recently dismissed Apple's lawsuit against Motorola Mobility over excessive patent fees related to essential technologies used in mobile phones.

Apple always had the upper hand in its litigation against HTC. In late 2011, the US International Trade Commission imposed a ban on some of the handsets of HTC after it found that HTC had infringed upon one of four patents Apple had disputed.

Hit by intense competition from Apple and Samsung, HTC had in October forecast a 14.5 percent sequential decline in fourth-quarter sales.

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