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HTC infringing on Apple patents, rules US judge

A judge at the US International Trade Commission reckons HTC's infringing on two Apple patents. They're thought to be core to the Android OS, so other manufacturers might be in hot water too.

HTC is infringing on two of Apple's patents, a US judge ruled on Friday. The ruling by the US International Trade Commission is part of a long-running legal scrap between the two tech giants.

The two patents refer to a 'system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data', and a 'real-time signal-processing system for serially transmitted data'.

No, we don't know what any of that means either. But the patents are thought to be core to the Android operating system. That means HTC may not be the only company in hot water -- other manufacturers who use Android, such as Motorola, LG, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, could also very well be infringing upon Apple's secret sauce.

The BBC reckons that, if Friday's ruling isn't overturned, the US might ban imports of some HTC mobiles. The Los Angeles Times reports that the offending patents in this case were filed by Apple in 1994 and 1996 respectively, long before smart phones emerged. 

The battle's not over. The findings are subject to review, with a final determination set for 6 December. HTC has said it will fight the ruling vigorously and that "we look forward to resolving this case, so we can continue creating the most innovative mobile experiences for consumers".

It's not unusual for tech companies to sue each other twice before breakfast, but Apple's recent legal actions are particularly aggressive. Recently Jobs and co tried to block the sale of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in the US, claiming it and other Samsung gadgets are straight-up copies of Apple devices.

What do you think? Do Apple's lawyers need to lay off the Red Bull? Or do you think Apple has the right to defend its creations in this way? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook wall.