Apple Win Ban On HTC Imported Phones From April 2012

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ITC rules that HTC is in violation of Apple patents:

The ban that will come into play from April the 18th 2012 will see certain HTC models that infringe Apple patents banned from import, this however does leave HTC with plenty of time to create workarounds and sidestep the ban after altering the areas that have caused the problems.

The ITC is seen as a quasi-judicial court and could end up being the home of a new privacy court in the US if opponents of the Hollywood backed copyright bill get their way.

Apple Win HTC Smartphone Import Ban
Apple Win HTC Smartphone Import Ban

No disruption at all to HTC:

Pierre Ferragu, a senior analyst at Sanford C Bernstein, a London based search firm is quoted saying:

“this ruling will represent absolutely no disruption at all to HTC’s business in the U.S.”

Talking of the issues to CNET, HTC general counsel Grace Lei said:

“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.”

The issue mainly related to an Apple owned patent that is numbered 5,946,647 and was granted in 1999, this patent offers a way of identifying features such as a phone number or address and then parsing this to produce another function such as a dialler interface, or what is termed “appropriate actions”.

HTC are seen as a vulnerable corporation when it comes to technology patents as they do not have the depth of patents that more established firms have access to, though it has to be said that currently, if you have deep pockets, you can buy your own patents that help fight litigation such as this.

HTC bought S3 Graphics this year in order to obtain patents that may help them fight law suits that are currently taking place or may emerge in the future.

HTC and Apple were the first companies to start the war on patents related to the Android O/S after HTC were the first company to release an all Android phone in the G1, since then, Google has handed HTC a number of patents transferred on September the 1st 2011 in order for HTC to fight their own battles with Apple, these were picked up by Google from Palm, Motorola, and Openwave Systems.

What do you think of this ongoing litigation between firms based on patents, is it laughable, needed, or is it just a version of corporate tug of war, for the sake of it?

Anthony Munns