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ITC to review Apple patent complaint against HTC

U.S. agency, which has the power to block imports, will review Apple's complaint that HTC infringes on patents related to its Android smartphones.

A U.S. trade agency announced today it has decided to review Apple's patent infringement complaint against HTC.

The U.S. International Trade Commission, which has the power to block imports, will review Apple's claim that the Taiwanese company violated five of its patents, including one used for scrolling operations, another for programmable tactile touch-screen displays, and one for a double-sided touch-sensitive panel.

The decision to review the complaint, which was announced on the agency's Web site, follows the commission's initial decision in July that HTC had violated two of 10 patents Apple accused HTC of infringing in a March 2010 complaint. The current review stems from a second complaint Apple filed in July, which targeted a dozen Android smartphones and the Flyer tablet.

A loss carries the threat that HTC's products would be banned from coming into the U.S., and Apple only needs to get a favorable decision on one of the patents. HTC is considered the most vulnerable legally of the Android partners because it lacks a robust portfolio of patents that act as a potential shield. Earlier this month, HTC purchased S3 Graphics, largely because of a collection of patents that the ITC administrative law judge recently determined were used illegally by Apple.

Apple representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and HTC representatives could not be reached for comment.

CNET's Roger Cheng contributed to this report.