Taipei: HTC Corp, the world’s number four smartphone maker, said on Wednesday that a United States (US) court has further postponed a final ruling on its lawsuit against Apple Inc, which is seeking a ban on sales of HTC devices in the US market.

An HTC official said the International Trade Commission (ITC), a US trade panel that investigates patent infringement involving imported goods, would deliver its ruling on 19 December. She added that the ITC did not disclose a reason for the delay.

A file photo of various smartphones on display

“It’s hard to say whether the delay is good or bad because we don’t know the true reason behind," said Yuanta Securities analyst Bonnie Chang. “We hope the ruling will come as soon as possible so we can predict where the bottom is and whether there will be a settlement, and then we can have a better view of HTC’s fundamentals in the coming one year."

The ruling is crucial for HTC, which has struggled with legal battles and stiff competition with Apple and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, since it could result in a ban on the sale of HTC handsets in US, a market that accounts for 50% of the company revenue.

The suit is seen by some as a proxy for the larger fight for market share between Google Inc’s Android cellphones and tablets, many of which HTC manufactures, and Apple’s product line.

Korea’s Samsung Electronics, which also makes Android products, is locked in similar court fights with Apple.

Shares of HTC were up 2.11%, beating the broader market’s 0.14% rise.

On Tuesday, a Taiwan prosecutor said HTC had filed a criminal complaint against Citigroup Inc’s Taiwan unit, alleging the broker’s research contributed to a fall in HTC’s share price.