Apple Awaits Major Court Decision That Could Ban HTC Phones in the US

Although Apple’s patent war with Samsung has received a lot of media attention over the last few months, its battle with HTC has been just as fierce. In fact, it was HTC’s multi-touch-enabled handset that first sent Steve Jobs through the roof last year.

As with Samsung, Apple has taken HTC on in dozens of courtrooms around the globe. But perhaps none of them are more important than the case going on in the United States right now. Its outcome could have huge ramifications for both companies…

Bloomberg reports:

“The International Trade Commission is set to rule Dec. 6 in a patent complaint lodged by Apple against rival smartphone maker HTC Corp. (2498). The decision would mark the first final verdict from any judicial entity in Apple’s global patent war against HTC and fellow Android-phone makers Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.”

If the ITC rules in favor of Apple, and determines that HTC has indeed infringed on the company’s patents, we could see a country-wide ban on several of HTC’s products. Of course it could appeal the decision, but other than that, with the case over, it would have limited options.

Not only could the manufacturer be forced to pull its products from the US — where it generated nearly half of its sales last year, but it would have a tougher time defending against Apple on other continents. This would be a huge blow to the Taiwan-based company, which just lowered its fourth quarter projections due to poor sales.

Should the court rule in favor of HTC, however, it would give the handset-maker some serious leverage in any settlement with Apple, not to mention clout in future lawsuits. The two companies are also battling in a district court here in the US, but it could be months before a decision is reached.

All eyes are on the International Trade Commission tomorrow, as its ruling has the potential to change the landscape of the smartphone industry in the United States. We’ll let you know as soon as we hear anything.