The West

Taiwan's leading smartphone maker HTC has hailed as a victory a British court ruling that it did not infringe on a patent owned by the US technology giant Apple.

The High Court in London found HTC did not infringe on Apple Inc's photo management patent while deeming three other Apple patents - for slide-to-unlock, multi-touch and multilingual keyboard capability - invalid.

In an 80-page ruling the court ruled Apple's "multi-touch" patent was invalid partly due to "obviousness over common general knowledge". Multi-touch refers to the ability to touch a screen with for example two fingers at a time.

"HTC is pleased with the ruling, which provides further confirmation that Apple's claims against HTC are without merit," the company said in a statement.

"We remain disappointed that Apple continues to favour competition in the courtroom over competition in the marketplace."

HTC touts its own brand of smartphones and also makes handsets for a number of leading US companies, including Google's Nexus One.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment on a specific case but added "we think competition is healthy but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours".

Patent lawsuits are a regular occurrence among technology giants and Wednesday's ruling was among a string of legal defeats for Apple in recent months.

A Dutch court last month ruled Apple had infringed on a patent held by South Korean rival Samsung and ordered the US firm to pay unspecified damages.

In April, Motorola scored a victory when a German court found Apple's iCloud and MobileMe services breached its patents and ordered Apple to pay damages.

The West Australian

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