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U.S. ITC to probe HTC's patent claims against Apple

The U.S. International Trade Commission has said that it will open an investigation into Taiwanese phone maker HTC's patent-infringement claims against Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL).

HTC had filed its complaint with the U.S. ITC in May, alleging that Apple infringed on five of its patents regarding power management and cell-phone directory hardware and software.

That complaint followed two months after Apple had hit HTC with its own patent-infringement suit.

HTC is asking the U.S. ITC to impose a ban on Apple that would bar the company from importing, marketing and selling iPhones, iPads and iPods in the United States.

Of course, the decision to open an investigation in no way foretells an outcome. The chief administrative law judge of the trade panel will assign the case to one of the U.S. ITC's six administrative law judges, who will convene an evidentiary hearing. If the judge finds that Apple is in violation of the relevant provision of the Tariff Act, the matter will pass to the commission to review.

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