ITC Rules For Apple in Patent Case, Bans Some HTC Imports [Update: HTC Responds]

United States International Trade Commission sealThe U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled in favor (PDF) of Apple in a patent dispute with Taiwanese phone manufacturer HTC. The commission found that a number of HTC devices violate two claims related to an Apple patent. As a result of the decision, an actual ban on the importation of some HTC devices goes into effect in April of 2012.

Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents on the decision:

What Apple has won is a formal import ban scheduled to commence on April 19, 2012, but relating only to HTC Android phones implementing one of two claims of a "data tapping patent": a patent on an invention that marks up phone numbers and other types of formatted data in an unstructured document, such as an email, in order to enable users to bring up other programs (such as a dialer app) that process such data. The import ban won't relate to HTC Android products that don't implement that feature, or that implement it in ways not covered by those patent claims.

Mueller goes on to note that it is possible for Google to implement the feature in a way that doesn't violate Apple's patents, which would render the ban meaningless. However, it does give Apple a bigger bargaining chip in its many lawsuits against Android manufacturers.

According to the decision (PDF), the patent being infringed is:

- U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647 on a "system and method causes a computer to detect and perform actions on structures identified in computer data."

This ruling echoes an earlier one by an ITC judge from July in the same case.

The United States International Trade Commission is an independent federal agency that, among other things, adjudicates cases involving imports that allegedly infringe intellectual property rights." It has the power, in rare cases, to ban infringing products from the country entirely.

Update: In a statement given to BGR, HTC says it is "well prepared for this decision, and our designers have created alternate solutions for the ‘647 patent."

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Top Rated Comments

Mattie Num Nums Avatar
163 months ago
So to summarize, Apple lost all the patents against HTC, but won only 2 claims, AND it's only on some HTC devices AND it takes effect only in the end of April AND HTC just said that their "designers have created alternate solutions for the ‘647 patent."

So what did Apple won here ?

Reminds me of Samsungs HUGE loss (which really meant they had to change a scrolling feature in the Samsung Picture Gallery.)
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
513 Avatar
163 months ago
So to summarize, Apple lost all the patents against HTC, but won only 2 claims, AND it's only on some HTC devices AND it takes effect only in the end of April AND HTC just said that their "designers have created alternate solutions for the ‘647 patent."

So what did Apple win here ?

EDIT link : http://www.androidcentral.com/htc-found-violate-two-apple-patents-some-devices-will-be-banned-import-come-april-2012
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Patriot24 Avatar
163 months ago
"I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this. I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong." - Steve Jobs
Up until now I guess I didn't realize how serious this situation was, probably because it hadn't affected sales in my country (U.S.) yet. It is getting pretty insane...
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
*LTD* Avatar
163 months ago
In 2007 Steve got up on stage, having come completely out of left field with a landmark product and declared "boy have we patented it!" This goes for most of Apple's products.

Fair warning. Apple's version of the patent game was never any secret.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
neiltc13 Avatar
163 months ago
Those of you people vilifying Apple over this, I'd like to see how you would feel if you invested your precious resources in something only to watch someone else rip it off and profit from your hard work.
The point is that in this case, the thing that Apple patented already existed many years before.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
D 5 Avatar
163 months ago
Boom!
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)