ITC will investigate claims that Apple infringed HTC patents

The US International Trade Commission has said it will be taking up and investigating a claim against Apple following a complaint made by HTC.

On 12 May the handset maker claimed that Apple had violated section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. It said that Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod product lines infringe upon five of its patents and wants the ITC to block the import of these products, which are made in China, to the US.

Although it didn’t specify what patents Apple has copied, the ITC said in a statement: “The products at issue in this investigation are portable electronic devices that utilise certain power management methods and may incorporate hardware and software for telephone directories within mobile telephone systems.”

It added that it would be holding a hearing to look into these claims.

And it seems Apple’s ego looks set to get bruised even more. On Friday the Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Trade Commission will investigate whether Apple’s business practices harm competition in the market for software used on mobile devices. It is also reported that the Justice Department is looking into Apple’s practices in the music business and whether Apple and a range of other tech companies improperly agreed not to poach each other.

However, HTC hasn’t got out of this smelling of roses. In fact it too is being investigated by the ITC after Apple filed a complaint in March claiming that HTC had infringed on 20 Apple iPhone patents that involved both hardware and user interfaces.