The U.S. International Trade Commission said yesterday that S3 Graphics’s patent rights weren’t violated by Apple, rejecting a request for an order that could have limited imports of some Mac computers, the iPhone and iPad. The commission gave no reason for its decision. HTC said it may challenge the ruling to a U.S. appeals court that specializes in patent law.

HTC, which sold the most smartphones in the U.S. in the third quarter, said it would buy Fremont, California-based S3 Graphics less than a week after a trade agency’s judge issued his findings in the case in July. S3 Graphics was part-owned by HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang, and Citigroup Inc. analyst Kevin Chang said at the time HTC could have just licensed the patents.

A decision against HTC “calls into question the rationale of the S3 acquisition,” said Chen Fu-li, an analyst at E Sun Securities Co. in Taipei who has a “buy” rating on HTC shares. “It’s the final decision so it’s quite important. A negative decision could put pressure on HTC’s shares.”

U.S. trade Judge James Gildea on July 1 found that some Apple Macs infringed two S3 Graphics patents related to graphics chips, while the mobile platform for the iPhone didn’t infringe.

[Bloomberg]

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