key trade regulator sided with Apple yesterday and ordered a ban on the import
of some devices made by Taiwanese handset manufacturer HTC.
U.S. International Trade Commission’s injunction is set to take effect on April
19 to give wireless operators time to adjust their inventory.
devices infringing on Apple’s patents are subject to the decision, and HTC will
be allowed to import refurbished phones to replace devices covered by warranty
could not be immediately reached for comment, but company general counsel Grace
Lei told the Associated Press that the patent challenged in the case “affects
a small part of the user experience” and will be removed from affected
ITC found that HTC had violated one of Apple’s patents on data detection, but
threw out Apple’s claims about three other patents in the case. The data
detection patent covers functions like tapping on a phone number sent in a text
message to call that number.
intellectual property analyst Florian Mueller called Apple’s patent win
“one of medium value” and said the ITC’s ruling may ultimately have
little effect on HTC’s sales in the United States.
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,” Mueller said
in a post on his blog. “Otherwise HTC will have to remove this feature, which would put HTC at a
competitive disadvantage as compared to other smartphone vendors, including
other Android device makers.”
is one of the top manufacturers of Android-based smartphones in the United
States. The company makes nearly 16 percent of all Android handsets in the
country, according to recent estimates from Nielsen. Samsung and Motorola each
hold about 10 percent of the U.S. Android market.
ITC had twice postponed its decision on Apple’s patent suit against HTC. The
commission had originally planned to announce its decision on Dec. 6, but then
delayed the ruling until Dec. 14. before pushing the order out another five
days to Dec. 19.
ITC complaint against HTC is part of the iPhone manufacturer’s ongoing efforts
to fight companies it says are stealing its ideas. Apple is also waging an
international fight against Samsung, whose devices it says “slavishly
copy” the iPhone and iPad. Apple recently had a short-lived victory in the
Samsung fight with a temporary import ban in Australia on the Galaxy Tab 10.1,
but Apple’s bid to extend the injunction was denied earlier this month,
allowing Samsung to again sell the tablet.
says Apple’s legal battles over its intellectual property rights are an attack
on its Android operating system, which has eroded Apple’s dominance in the