This Apple Rival is Breathing a Sigh of Relief

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and HTC have been ordered into face-to-face mediation talks to settle their legal differences. The U.S. District Court of Delaware ordered the lawyers as well as unspecified decision makers of Apple and HTC to meet in Delaware on August 28 to discuss a possible settlement. The talks will be moderated by Magistrate Judge Sherry R. Fallon.

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Issued by the court on Thursday, the order follows by a single day the enforcement of an International Trade Commission import ban on two HTC smartphones won by Apple in December 2011 over a “data tapping” patent.CEOs of Apple and Samsung will meet for the same kind of purpose in San Francisco next week.

The court order says the two companies’ decision makers “must have full authority to act on behalf of the parties, including the authority to negotiate a resolution of the matter and to respond to developments during the mediation process.”

But court watchers aren’t expecting any kind of settlement, as HTC doesn’t have to fear any major legal breakthrough for Apple, which failed again to make its case in court, until at least next year.

For now, HTC has bigger problems to deal with. U.S. customers have decided to halt the import of its One X and the EVO 4G LTE smartphones while it conducts its own investigation into the patent matter. The devices are being held indefinitely at an unidentified port while the investigation is ongoing. The hold-up has already resulted in a delay of the launch of the EVO 4G LTE for Sprint (NYSE:S), which was due to be available yesterday, and there is a nationwide shortage of the already released One X for AT&T (NYSE:T).

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