Apple suffered a crushing loss to HTC when London’s High Court ruled that HTC smartphones did not infringe on Apple patents.
The patents in question were the slide-to-unlock feature, tools used to change alphabets and scroll through photographs and multi-touch, the ability to touch two places on the screen simultaneously.
According to the BBC, Judge Christopher Floyd found that HTC’s “arc unlock” feature would have infringed on Apple’s patent if it weren’t for the Neonode N1, a device released in 2004 that showed a padlock with the words “right sweep to unlock.” The text was later replaced with an arrow.
Judge Floyd also said the “slider” concept wasn’t a new one as it had already been used in Microsoft CE, and that visual feedback would have been an “obvious” improvement for developers.
HTC, Asia’s second largest smartphone maker, was pleased with the court’s ruling. However Andrea Sommer, a spokesperson for the company said, “We remain disappointed that Apple continues to favor competition in the courtroom over competition in the marketplace.”
In an emailed statement that didn’t directly reference the High Court’s decision Apple said, “Competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”
This has been a rough week for Apple. Earlier this week, the company lost a bid to ban HTC phones from being imported into the United States. Not only that, but the Cupertino, California-based company was slapped with a trademark lawsuit over the use of “Snow Leopard,” the name of Apple’s 10.6 operating system. That lawsuit came just a day after the company settled another Chinese lawsuit for $60 million with ProView Technology over the use of the name “iPad.” Apple had originally bought the rights through a ProView affiliate, and the company was not bound to the sale.
Apple has at least one more lawsuit to look forward to, when they battle HTC again in Germany over the same four patents later this year.