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Judge rules Apple didn't infringe HTC's patents

It's round one to Apple, as a judge has ruled the company didn't infringe HTC's patents. But there's more still to come…

The patent wars continue. Apple has just won a patent infringement complaint HTC filed last year. It's just a preliminary decision, but it bodes well for Apple.

The decision was made at the US International Trade Commission on Monday, reports Reuters.

HTC accused Apple of copying four of its patents relating to, among others, power management and phone dialling. HTC was hoping to ban imports of Apple's iPods, iPhones and iPads, so if HTC had won it could've caused huge problems for the Cupertino company.

The original complaint was filed in May 2010. February will be crunch time for the two companies, as the full commission will decide whether to uphold or reject judge Charles Bullock's decision -- so Apple isn't out of the woods just yet.

HTC recently brought its legal ruckus to the UK, filing a lawsuit against Apple in London. This followed Apple's win in the US, when it accused HTC of infringing some of its patents. This last wrangling also took place in the ITC.

But that's nothing compared to Apple's legal dealings with Samsung. It accused the Korean company of "slavishly copying" its iPad and iPhone, and succeeded in getting the Galaxy S2 banned in Europe. Recently, Apple and Samsung's legal fight made its way to Australia, with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 banned there. So companies do succeed in having others' products banned. This is serious business.

Despite the spat between Apple and Samsung, they're both still working together on the iPhone 5, according to reports. This conflicts with earlier reports that Apple was ditching Samsung as a supplier. The dollar rules all, we suppose.

What do you think of the fight between Apple and HTC? Who copied who, if anyone? Let us know on our Facebook page.