HTC v Apple Judgment Now Published

July 3, 2012

The Hon Mr Justice Floyd has given judgment in HTC Europe Co Ltd v Apple Inc [2012] EWHC 1789 (Pat). The extensive and much anticipated judgment, which runs to 364 paragraphs plus an appendix, can be read on bailii here

The judgment represents a clear victory for HTC which has repelled most of Apple’s attempts to restrict a number of familiar smartphone features to its own products. Of course, the victory has to be set in the context of ongoing litigation across many jurisdictions but it is likely that the judgment of Floyd J will be influential in some other cases.

There were four main patent claims in issue: claims concerning the multi-touch screen (eg the pinch and zoom facility), the slide to unlock by ‘gesture’ feature, a complex aspect of photograph interface and the facility to use a number of languages and character styles (eg Arabic characters) to send messages.

As to multi-touch claim, Floyd J found that part of the claim was excluded as a computer program and that what was left failed as being ‘obvious’.

As to the slide to unlock feature, Floyd J found a lack of the requisite novelty and/or obviousness, although he appears to have found an infringement in relation to one of the three mechanisms in dispute.

There was no infringement in relation to the photographic interface as the HTC system was not really the same.

The SMS and language point was determined on the basis that there was prior art  and a weight of evidence that suggested such a development was obvious.

The judgment also includes words of warning on the need for better time-estimates in such cases and an increased awareness of the need for pre-trial reviews.

 Comments on the outcome from SCL members are encouraged!