The U.S. International Trade Commission on Friday said it plans to investigate HTC's claim that Apple's iPhone infringes on its handset technology.
The trade panel will look into whether HTC's claim will justify its request that the ITC ban the import and sale of iPhones, iPads, and iPods.
HTC complained to the panel in May that Apple infringed on five of its patents related to its handset hardware and software.
HTC's suit is a counterclaim to Apple's lawsuit, which first alleged patent infringement by HTC. When Apple filed the suit in March, CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement, "We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We've decided to do something about it...We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."
In its suit, Apple claims that HTC phones violate 20 patents it owns related to the iPhone's graphical user interface, hardware, and underlying software. And although HTC is named in the suit, the legal maneuver was widely seen as an indirect way of putting pressure on Google, whose Android software powers many HTC smartphones.