ITC rules is Apple’s favor, HTC handset ban to go into effect on April 19
The International Trade Commission ruled yesterday that HTC handsets are indeed infrongign on Apple’s patent (#5,946,647) and has imposed a ban on HTC’s infringing handset which goes into effect on April 19, 2012. While the original patent dispute brought forth by Apple names phones like the HTC EVO 4G, HTC DROID Incredible, T-Mobile G2 and the HTC Aria nad points its finger at Android 1.6 through 2.2, but court’s decision to issue an exclusion order means that any phone manufactured by HTC which infringed on the patent is subject to the ban. At this point, the only person who can overrule the ITC’s decision is the U.S. president.
SO what’s the real issue at hand? The courts have found that HTC’s use of Android is the real culprit as the OS uses a “system and method [which] causes a computer to detect and perform actions on structures identified in computer data.” It may sound a bit confusing, but a little digging reveals that the issue has to do with the way Android identifies email addresses, phone numbers or even street addresses and launches different applications when a user taps them on a screen. Apple’s patent doesn’t cover the ability to launch an application based on the type of content being tapped, but they did patent a specific method which the OS uses to perform the function.
Fortunately for HTC and U.S. consumers, a fix is already in the works which will circumvent Apple’s patent and allow HTC to continue to import and sell its Android powered phones. HTC’s official statement about the ban actually claims that the ruling by the ITC is a victory in HTC’s favor since it also concluded that HTC was not in violation of two other patent help by Apple – patents which could have had a more severe impact on HTC and Android.[quote]We are gratified that the Commission affirmed the judge’s initial determination on the ‘721 and ‘983 patents, and reversed its decision on the ‘263 patent and partially on the ‘647 patent. We are very pleased with the determination and we respect it. However, the ‘647 patent is a small UI experience and HTC will completely remove it from all of our phones soon.[/quote]
All we have do to now is wait for HTC to push out an update that fixes the “small UI experience” in question and then we can all get on with out lives. We hope Google’s Android team is also making the appropriate changes so that other OEMs will have an easy fix if Apple decides to go after them with the same patent infringement case.
Are you scared yet? Apple’s not showing an mercy with its patent war offensive. We hope HTC gets lucky with a few of its patent cases against Apple so that they can get a taste of their own medicine. Do you think Apple will even win a patent dispute case which will block HTC frm seeing their devices in the U.S. market?
Source: International Trace Commission