The ITC has granted Apple’s motion to throw out five of the patents Google gave to HTC last summer, reports FOSS Patents.
Apple had argued that HTC lacks standing (the right to sue). Administrative Law Judge Thomas Pender apparently concluded that HTC failed to acquire all substantial rights in the relevant patents. The ALJ made the decision on Friday, and it entered the public record today. As a result, only three of eight patents remain in HTC’s second ITC action against Apple. Last week Apple brought a third ITC complaint against HTC, asking for rapid enforcement against new devices of an import ban ordered in December 2011.
HTC can appeal this decision to the Commission but appeals against an initial determination by an ALJ rarely succeed. Another option may be for Google to join the investigation as a complainant but this would further strain the relationship between the companies.
FOSS Patents notes that the rejection of this Rent-a-Patent deal has implications for other cases as well. Google isn’t the only one assigning patents to other companies for the purpose of suing third parties.