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Apple, HTC settle their global patent lawsuits

Apple and HTC's settlement is the the first between Apple and an Android smartphone manufacturer.

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Apple and HTC have settled their lawsuits and signed a patent agreement. (Sean Gallup/AFP/Getty Images)

Apple and HTC have settled their patent disputes and signed a licensing agreement, ending a dispute that began in March 2010.

It is the first settlement Apple has signed with an Android smartphone manufacturer, according to the New York Times. The companies said the agreement's terms are confidential. 

The two smartphone makers were involved in over 20 cases worldwide, including some pending the ruling of the International Trade Commission of the United States, an HTC official told Agence France Presse

“HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Chou said in the statement, Bloomberg Businessweek reported

Apple echoed the sentiment.

“We are glad to have reached a settlement with HTC,” Timothy Cook, Apple's CEO, said in their statement. “We will continue to stay laser-focused on product innovation.”

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Almost a year ago, Apple won a case against HTC, causing the US International Trade Commission to issue a "limited exclusion order" that halted Taiwanese company HTC from importing certain smartphones into the US, BBC News reported

Sprint was also forced to delay a new phone running on Google's Android operating system after an Apple complaint caused the phones to be blocked by US customs, according to AFP. 

Apple has accused several Android phone companies of infringing on Apple's patents, including Motorola and Samsung, as TechCrunch reported. However, they also pointed out that the iPhone manufacturers continue to but heads with the more profitable Samsung.

"This settlement with HTC is essentially a sign that Apple considers it a competitor neutralized, and that’s far from the case with Samsung," wrote TechCrunch. "So don’t expect a similar easing of tensions in patent litigation between those two, or between Apple and other companies."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business/technology/121111/apple-htc-settle-patent-lawsuits