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Apple, HTC Settle Patent Dispute, Sign Licensing Pact

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11/11/2012 | 04:18am CET
   By Ian Sherr 

Apple Inc. (>> Apple Inc.) and HTC Corp. (>> HTC CORP) announced a broad 10-year licensing agreement that settles all of the lawsuits between the companies around the world.

The two companies said late Saturday the agreement covers current and future patents for both firms. More specific terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation," Peter Chou, HTC's chief executive, said in a statement.

Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, also expressed relief in a statement. "We will continue to stay laser-focused on product innovation," he said.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment further about the agreement. An HTC spokeswoman also declined to provide specifics of the deal but said the company does not expect the license agreement to have an adverse material impact on the company.

The broad patent deal comes after HTC suffered several legal setbacks, such as a decision from the U.S. International Trade Commission that said Apple's iPhone and iPad mobile devices hadn't infringed HTC's patents. The Taiwanese handset maker had put a lot of effort into its litigation, including a $300 million cash acquisition of S3 Graphics Co., which HTC said was purchased with the intention of using that company's patents in its ongoing legal battles. In a separate case, the ITC found HTC's phones infringed Apple's patents.

In striking the settlement, HTC joins Nokia Corp. (NOK, NOK1V.HE) as handset makers that have settled litigation with Apple. Nokia's settlement, announced last summer, included a payment from Apple.

The settlement comes as Apple has become an epicenter of a global patent war among industry titans, including Samsung Electronics Co. (SSHNY, 005930.SE) and Google Inc.'s (>> Google Inc) Motorola handset unit.

Apple was asked several times to attempt a settlement with Samsung during its high-profile case in a California court several months ago. Heads of both firms held talks but were unable to strike a deal. Apple ultimately won the case, with a jury awarding it $1 billion in damages. Samsung said it will appeal that decision.

Mr. Cook has expressed interest in settling those cases as well, on conference calls and in interviews, but so far neither Apple or its remaining courtroom opponents have been able to reach agreements.

Write to Ian Sherr at [email protected]

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

Stocks mentioned in the article : Apple Inc., Google Inc, HTC CORP
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