HTC's first Apple complaint laughed out of court

It looks like the ball is landing in Apple’s court, as yet again, Cupertino’s legal team observes another victory against the competition.

In the landmark Apple Vs. cases – most high profile with Samsung and HTC – an International Trade Commission judge has ruled that Apple hasn’t violated HTC patents. It pertains to the first complaint made against Apple by HTC in May last year, as a tit-for-tat action against the fruity phonemaker.

HTC, which is trying to bolster its patent portfolio, will have the opportunity to appeal the ruling. Industry watcher Florian Mueller, of FOSSpatents, believes that will be the case but little will come of it.

Speaking about the complaint, Mueller says he “didn’t take it seriously from the day it was filed” and that “the patents look weak”. Even if the ITC changes its mind, he reckons, it’s unlikely Apple will feel any serious impact. Still, there will probably be more to come, as the battle drags on. Mueller thinks the first complaint was HTC proving it had a bit of fight in it, and little more.

The final decision for this particular complaint will be February 2012.

Essentially, Apple’s sharp-clawed legal eagles  are swooping down on an industry Cupertino is finding itself increasingly threatened by. But, at least for the moment, they are doing well in the courts. The question is, with the nature of globalisation, banning products which are found to infringe on patents in one region might not be enough to stop them from selling, as Apple is finding in Australia with the “illegal” Galaxy tablets. The high-profile lawsuits were all the advertising the Australians needed.

Still, Apple’s attacks on its competitors could mark a turning point for the industry. Cupertino is trying to completely edge out the competition.