UPDATE: After losing out to Apple, and functioning with the fear of the impending ban looming over their heads, HTC is reportedly working out on a way. A report in Reuters confirms that the Taiwan-based manufacturer is already testing new models of their smartphones, which do not interfere with the infringed technology, and instead will effectively work their way around it. 

A decision meted out by the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has led to an import ban on HTC Android smartphones, w.e.f April 19, 2012. The verdict, which read, “Personal data and mobile communication devices and related software covered by claims 1 or 8 of the '647 patent that are manufactured abroad by or on behalf of, or imported by or on behalf of, [HTC and its affiliates] are excluded from entry for consumption into the United States, […]“, according to a post by Foss Patents cannot be considered as the final victory of Apple. 

Patent woes

Patent woes

Interestingly, the ruling does not cover all of HTC Android smartphones. According to the verdict, Apple had accused HTC of violating on a certain patent that pertained to a data tapping feature. The feature, in question deals with “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.

So, essentially, the import ban won't affect all of HTC Android smartphones, but only to those, which have this feature. The post further reveals that, “If Google can implement this popular feature, which users of modern-day smartphones really expect, without infringing on the two patent claims found infringed, this import ban won't have any effect whatsoever.

The ITC is a U.S. trade panel that investigates patent infringement involving imported goods. It is a popular venue for patent lawsuits because it can bar the importation of infringing products.

Publish date: December 21, 2011 10:04 am| Modified date: December 18, 2013 9:11 pm