HTC recently posted record profits for the sixth consecutive quarter, yet many analysts warned against purchasing shares in the Taiwanese company.
A ruling by a US trade panel on Friday that HTC had infringed on two Apple patents added to this concern and today, shares in the company fell by 6.5 percent. In a bid to stem the damage caused by the ruling, HTC issued a statement saying it would be buying back up to 20 million of its own shares before 17 September, which represents 2.4 percent of its outstanding shares.
This is obviously an attempt to limit the damage caused by the ruling which could lead to HTC paying out substantial compensation to Apple. HTC set the buyback price at between T$900 (£19) and T$1,100 (£23.50) per share hoping that investors would see T$900 as the lowest limit for shares, but that proved not to be the case.
Apple brought the patent infringement case against HTC back in March last year and while initially there were 10 separate patent infringements listed, six of these were thrown out. Of the four remaining the International Trade Commission (ITC) found in a preliminary ruling that HTC were infringing on two. HTC is planning on appealing the decision and seems confident it has a case:
"We are highly confident we have a strong case for the ITC appeals process and are fully prepared to defend ourselves using all means possible," said Grace Lei, general counsel of HTC in a statement.
What exactly the patents concerned refer to is unclear but it is a safe bet that the ruling relates to smartphones, where manufacturers seem to be battling as much in court as in the marketplace these days. The final judgement in the HTC vs Apple case is not due until 6 December and between then and now we’re likely to see more claims and counter-claims from both sides.