World No. 5 smartphone maker HTC Corp said on Tuesday it was still confident it had a strong case in a patent lawsuit against Apple Inc after the U.S. International Trade Commission's (ITC) preliminary ruling against the Taiwanese firm.

This is only one step of many in these legal proceedings. We are confident we have a strong case for the ITC appeals process and are fully prepared to protect our intellectual property, said Grace Lei, HTC general counsel in a statement.

We look forward to resolving this case, so we can continue creating the most innovative mobile experiences for consumers.

HTC had filed a complaint in May 2010, accusing Apple of infringing its patents. It asked the ITC to bar the importation of Apple's iPods, iPhones and iPads.

In February, the full commission will decide whether to uphold or reject the ITC judge's decision.

(Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)