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ITC Rules that HTC and others didn't infringe upon Patents from Apple's Spinoff Company, FlashPoint

10. News
The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled on Friday that HTC and others didn't violate digital camera patents owned by Apple Inc.'s spinoff FlashPoint Technology to make their smartphones.


FlashPoint Technology, which had filed the complaint in 2012, had originally accused Taiwan-based HTC, China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp of infringing four patents for smartphone cameras.


An administrative law judge found in a preliminary decision on September 30, 2013, that two HTC smartphones - the HTC Vivid and HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE - infringed upon one FlashPoint patent, while Huawei and ZTE were cleared.


The commission, which reviewed the judge's ruling, said in a final decision on Friday that none of the accused companies infringed the patents and it terminated the investigation.


Apple spun off FlashPoint Technology back in 1996. According to a document received by Patently Apple, the Chief Architect and Camera Software Manager for Apple Computer, Inc. Imaging Group, Eric Anderson, "worked with external parties and Apple employees to create a spin-off from Apple to continue to develop the QuickTime IC a.k.a. FlashPoint/OS technology (this technology was renamed to Digita™ OE)." The spin-off officially took place on November 15, 1996 – days before Apple announced buying Next Software. Over 30 Apple camera related patents were applied for, claims Anderson.


Anderson also had led the development of a new platform - the Apple Image Capture Platform, and QuickTime IC (Image Capture). This technology involved dozens of inventions relating to the application of computer technology to digital cameras, and included the development of a Camera Hardware Reference Platform, an embedded real-time camera operating system called FlashPoint, a powerful command and control language and API sets, and a text-based scripting language for programmatic control of the camera. The technology was so well received by Motorola, Inc., that it changed the direction of its embedded PowerPC microprocessor development to match our requirements for a powerful camera processor. This resulted in the creation of the MPC823 microprocessor.


This well-received technology was presented to many camera and consumer electronics companies throughout the world in an attempt to establish a "de facto" standard by broad licensing. Anderson was also involved with product planning, technology acquisition, and business planning. At the end of this period, over 50 inventions still awaited patent application preparation.


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