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HTC Acquires S3 Graphics Amid Patent Dispute With Apple

2011/07/08
Taipei, July 8, 2011 (CENS)--HTC Corp. recently announced its 100% acquisition of S3 Graphics of VIA Technologies Inc. although it is still fighting Apple's charges that HTC has allegedly infringed many of its patents.

Industry executives felt that the acquisition would be an advantage for HTC in the lawsuits on grounds that S3 recently won a patent case at court against Apple. S3 brought its complaints last year before the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), accusing Apple of using two of its patents without permission. Last week, ITC Judge E. James Gildea ruled in favor of S3, finding that Apple breached U.S. patents no. 6,658,146, which protects S3's systems and methods for compressing images, and no. 6,683,978, which protects S3's image data formats.

In a press release, HTC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Peter Chou stated that S3's patents and brands are superb complement to his company's innovation and multimedia technologies, playing a decisive part in his company's patent strategy.

The acquisition has brought HTC 235 registered and pending patents, including the unique S3 Texture Compression Algorithms (S3TC). HTC executives pointed out that S3TC is growingly important to smartphones and tablet PCs thanks to its outstanding 3D visual performance. Industry watchers estimated S3TC would help HTC in the legal combat against Apple. S3 has licensed the technology to Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.

Apple has brought its complaints against HTC before U.S. District Court and ITC, accusing the Taiwan company of invading 10 of its patents, including a touch screen device and method, and a graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics.

HTC took over S3 for US$300 million from VIA, which is HTC's affiliate.

(by Ken Liu)
 
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