Staff of the US International Trade Commission have recommended that HTC and Nokia shouldn't be found liable of infringing Apple's patents.
ITC staff lawyer Erin Joffre told the start of a trial, in which Jobs' Mob is seeking to ban imports of HTC's Android phones, as well as block some Nokia devices, that there was no reason to do what Apple asks.
The ITC lawyers act independently during the hearing and there is no reason for the Judges to listen to them over anyone else. But they are the experts on trade law and their evidence carries a bit of weight.
Apple lawyer Greg Arovas insisted that Apple products were not "just what you see" but "what is under the hood" and that the five patents are important for the "seamless integration of hardware and software" which makes the products flexible.
There are five patents being disputed and they are related to signal processing and inter-process communications.
However HTC pointed out that the patents were from the early 1990s and "were, at best, a very narrow distinction" from the invention of others.
HTC's brief said that "HTC is a smartphone innovator and pioneer in the smartphone sphere long before Apple. The only differences from the Apple patents represent choices made by HTC and Google.
Nokia's lawyer, Pat Flinn said Jobs' Mob decided to "dredge up patents" after it was approached by the "pioneers of mobile phones" for royalties, including Ericsson and Nokia.
Flin said that advances in technology have made the patent moot. Apple does not use the patent either because it is so out of date.
HTC has its own claims against Apple so this will all run for years with only laywers ever getting wealthy off it.