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HTC, Huawei, ZTE did not violate FlashPoint patents: U.S. panel

Customers look at HTC smartphones in a mobile phone shop in Taipei July 30, 2013. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang
Customers look at HTC smartphones in a mobile phone shop in Taipei July 30, 2013. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - HTC Corp and others did not violate digital camera patents owned by Apple Inc spinoff FlashPoint Technology to make their smartphones, the U.S. International Trade Commission said on Friday.

FlashPoint Technology, which filed the complaint in 2012, had originally accused Taiwan-based HTC, China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp of infringing four patents for smartphone cameras. One of the patents was dropped as the case proceeded.

An administrative law judge found in a preliminary decision on September 30, 2013, that two HTC smartphones - the HTC Vivid and HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE - infringed upon one FlashPoint patent, while Huawei and ZTE were cleared.

The commission, which reviewed the judge's ruling, said in a final decision on Friday that none of the accused companies infringed the patents and it terminated the investigation.

If the companies had been found guilty of violating the patents, the smartphones could have been banned from the United States market.

The ITC is a popular venue for patent lawsuits because it can ban infringing products from the United States more easily than district courts.

The ITC will rule that a patent has been violated if the accused company infringes the patent and if the patent owner uses the patent in the United States.

The case at the International Trade Commission is No. 337-850.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz, editing by G Crosse)

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