A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday confirmed that Apple, HTC and ZTE won patents on allegations that imports of their devices infringe on wireless technology, Reuters reported.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said the three companies’ smartphones, smartwatches, tablets and other LTE-enabled devices did not infringe INVT SPE LLC’s rights in two patents originally owned by Panasonic.
The companies and their lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The INVT is a patent-holding company that is part of an investment fund managed by Fortress Investment Group LLC, a subsidiary of SoftBank Group.
Fortress last year won a separate lawsuit brought by Apple and Intel alleging that it and its affiliates, including INVT, violated antitrust laws by hoarding thousands of patents and demanding exorbitant licensing fees. Apple later withdrew from the case, which is currently on appeal.
INVT filed a lawsuit in 2018 with the U.S. International Trade Commission against Apple, HTC and ZTE, alleging that their LTE wireless-compliant devices infringe its patents and seeking a ban on imports of allegedly infringing devices.
The commission ruled against the device makers in 2020, and a three-judge Federal Circuit panel recently upheld that decision.
The Federal Circuit also found that the patent was not essential to the LTE standard and that the devices did not infringe simply because they had LTE capabilities. The court found the remainder of the appeal moot because the other INVT patents had expired. Both Apple and ZTE previously withdrew from this appeal.