HTC, Google, Righthaven, American Superconductor: Intellectual Property

By Victoria Slind-Flor

HTC Corp. (2498), the Taiwanese smartphone maker locked in a global patent battle with competitor Apple Inc. (AAPL), lost a U.K. court bid to rush the scheduling of a trial in Britain before a parallel case is heard in Germany.

Holding a U.K. trial in January on the validity of Apple’s patent for multilingual texting technology would put too much pressure on the iPhone maker, which is defending three other patents for touch-screen features against HTC lawsuits in Britain, Judge Richard Arnold ruled yesterday in the High Court in London. HTC had hoped to win a U.K. judgment in its favor in time to show the judge in the German trial early next year.

While the trial shouldn’t be expedited to accommodate a German trial that isn’t yet scheduled, the case does have “commercial urgency,” Arnold said. All four patents should go to trial in March or April, he ruled.

The dispute over the U.K. trial date comes as Apple, based in Cupertino, California, is embroiled in a global battle with Samsung Electronics Co. over both smartphones and tablet computers. HTC sued Apple in London on July 29, seeking to revoke the European smartphone patents it was accused of infringing in two German lawsuits earlier that month. Apple also sued in the U.K., naming HTC and Samsung in a complaint filed Sept. 12. Samsung’s lawyers didn’t attend today’s hearing.

A spokeswoman for HTC’s European unit didn’t comment when reached yesterday by phone.

The case is HTC Europe Co. Ltd. v. Apple Inc., High Court of Justice, London, HC11C02703