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Apple Successfully Gets ITC to Ban Certain HTC Phones

By - Source: FOSS | B 43 comments

Apple handed small victory in suit against HTC and Android.

Apple may have failed in its attempts to secure a preliminary injunction against certain Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab devices, but the company's suit against Samsung is not the only legal battle the Cupertino company is engaged in. Yesterday, after two delays, the International Trade Commission handed Apple a small victory in its ongoing suit against HTC. Apple earlier this year claimed that HTC was infringing on several of its mobile patents with its Android smartphones and the ITC this week ruled in favor of Cupertino with regard to two claims relating to a single patent. The result is an import ban on selected HTC smartphones in the United States.

"Notice is hereby given that the U.S. International Trade Commission has found a violation of section 337 in this investigation and has issued a limited exclusion order prohibiting importation of infringing personal data and mobile communications devices and related software," the ITC said in its ruling. "The Commission has determined that exclusion of articles subject to this order shall commence on April 19, 2012."

The patent HTC is guilty of violating relates to a technology the majority of smartphone owners are likely familiar with. Dubbed a "data tapping patent" by FOSS Patents, the patent in question describes a technology that allows users to interact with phone numbers and other types of formatted data in an unstructured document in order to bring up another program. Most of us will recognize an implementation of this technology in the functionality that allows us to tap a phone number in an email or text and immediately bring up the phone's dialer application. The ITC ruling means that any HTC phones with this feature are covered by the import ban.

HTC has until April 19 to comply with the import ban or file an appeal, but the company doesn't seem to bothered by the ITC's decision. The company said in a statement to Boy Genius Report that it plans to remove this 'small UI experience' from its phones soon. The company also highlighted the fact that the ITC had only found it guilty of violating one Apple patent (Apple's initial complaint alleged the violation of many):

"We are gratified that the commission affirmed the judge's determination on the '721 and '983 patents, and reversed its decision on the '263 patent and partially on the '647 patent," HTC told BGR via email. "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."

Google, the company behind the Android operating system, has not yet commented on the news.

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Top Comments
  • 22 Hide
    N.Broekhuijsen , December 20, 2011 4:10 PM
    If this is how business is done, I don't want to live in this world anymore.
  • 21 Hide
    frozenlead , December 20, 2011 4:18 PM
    My Windows Mobile 2003 PDA's had this functionality. Really..? I don't even.

    Honestly, how can these kind of court cases go through? Oh, wait, that's right...lawyers write the law for lawyers and don't have knowledge or regard for science and technology.

    You shouldn't be able to write, change, or interpret law in a field unless you have some kind of assurance of understanding of what goes on in that field. Otherwise you end up with SOPA.
  • 11 Hide
    slybadabing , December 20, 2011 4:36 PM
    It's a Function, not a Patent....
    Gee, why are they giving patents for any shit like that...it's no technology, it s just first who did it.

    We all walk and eat, and no first one to patent it and forbids others to do so....
Other Comments
    Display all 43 comments.
  • 22 Hide
    N.Broekhuijsen , December 20, 2011 4:10 PM
    If this is how business is done, I don't want to live in this world anymore.
  • 3 Hide
    jacobdrj , December 20, 2011 4:12 PM
    I thought RIM's BlackBerry had the patent on this technology...
  • 21 Hide
    frozenlead , December 20, 2011 4:18 PM
    My Windows Mobile 2003 PDA's had this functionality. Really..? I don't even.

    Honestly, how can these kind of court cases go through? Oh, wait, that's right...lawyers write the law for lawyers and don't have knowledge or regard for science and technology.

    You shouldn't be able to write, change, or interpret law in a field unless you have some kind of assurance of understanding of what goes on in that field. Otherwise you end up with SOPA.
  • 11 Hide
    slybadabing , December 20, 2011 4:36 PM
    It's a Function, not a Patent....
    Gee, why are they giving patents for any shit like that...it's no technology, it s just first who did it.

    We all walk and eat, and no first one to patent it and forbids others to do so....
  • 4 Hide
    anonymous32111 , December 20, 2011 4:41 PM
    Jesus, Honestly? I feel like bastardizing some mobile OS, probably Ice Cream Sandwich, just to make sure it infringes on every single patent available, especially Apple's.

    How ridiculous, I would like to know if they only patent the 'end functionality' like "transmits phone number to alternate application" , OR if they patent a specific method of coding to do so. My guess is the former, which would seem pretty awful.
  • 9 Hide
    house70 , December 20, 2011 4:41 PM
    memadmaxApple is GAY.Stick that in your pipe and smoke it iFanboys....

    No offense to gay people. This patent trolling has nothing to do with them. This tech was available for many years, and now Apple thinks they actually invented it. Despicable practice on their part.
  • 1 Hide
    maestintaolius , December 20, 2011 4:43 PM
    frozenleadMy Windows Mobile 2003 PDA's had this functionality. Really..? I don't even.Honestly, how can these kind of court cases go through? Oh, wait, that's right...lawyers write the law for lawyers and don't have knowledge or regard for science and technology. You shouldn't be able to write, change, or interpret law in a field unless you have some kind of assurance of understanding of what goes on in that field. Otherwise you end up with SOPA.

    The patent was filed in 1996 and granted in '99. I've seen some 'internet experts' stating that there's some prior art concerning this and the patent could be invalidated but I doubt HTC will bother considering it's such a minor feature. Of course, my blackberry has it and I have used it.
  • 7 Hide
    mrmaia , December 20, 2011 4:45 PM
    Now Apple wants to market their "creativity" in courts too! Maybe they want the lawyers to quit BlackBerries.
  • 8 Hide
    Anonymous , December 20, 2011 4:49 PM
    FU Apple
  • 8 Hide
    Anonymous , December 20, 2011 4:57 PM
    FRAK YOU APPLE!!! I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER ONE OF YOUR DEVICES BECAUSE OF THIS!!!!
  • 4 Hide
    DaddyW123 , December 20, 2011 5:04 PM
    Personally, I don't consider this a minor feature and I wish HTC would fight it. I love being able to click on a phone number in an email or a webpage and immediately dial. Especially since Android (or at least my thunderbolt), doesn't have a txt input area to be able to Paste a copied number like my old iphone did. If they do away with the clickable phone number number feature, then I hope the bring in the feature to paste numbers into the dial box.

    Of course, I'm rooted and romed with BAMF Forever, so maybe I can just ask them to put that feature in?
  • -6 Hide
    STravis , December 20, 2011 5:07 PM
    I love Apple articles...doesn't matter what it is about, always guaranteed to have the haters come out of the woodwork..
  • -6 Hide
    STravis , December 20, 2011 5:16 PM
    FRAK YOU APPLEFRAK YOU APPLE!!! I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER ONE OF YOUR DEVICES BECAUSE OF THIS!!!!


    And you've bought how many Apple devices so far?
  • 0 Hide
    markheber , December 20, 2011 5:16 PM
    xbeaterIf this is how business is done, I don't want to live in this world anymore.

    This is exactly how business has been done for over 100 year. Look at the patent law suits at the beginning of the auto and the airplane. This is the same. Eventually things will settle down.
  • 7 Hide
    zybch , December 20, 2011 5:17 PM
    Why the hell aren't the media (including THG) actually reporting this accurately.
    Instead of the ACCURATE story that Apple only won 1 out of the 4 suits it filed and HTC has already passed using the old android version that the single apple win was filed against, we get this bullshit APPLE WINS AGAINST HTC type headlines. For gods sake, I wish reporters would just, you know, report. Not make shit up that is partially or entirely a false reading of the situation.

    Basically, apple spent a shit ton on lawyers and LOST 3 out of the 4 claims against HTC who have essentially won the 4th because they no longer ship any products based on the version of android that apple was whinging about.
    Its loose-loose for apple, and yet if you believe the media, apple wiped the floor with HTC!
  • 4 Hide
    rantoc , December 20, 2011 5:23 PM
    STravisI love Apple articles...doesn't matter what it is about, always guaranteed to have the haters come out of the woodwork..


    Sometimes with good reason, i think this defiantly qualifies as one of the times its appropriate. The patent system is flawed and everyone knows it but some rotten companies uses the broken system to stay ahead of the competition their scared of. Rather than invest the resources into the products themselves they try to make sure they don't have to by this shady practices. You defiantly seem to like this abuse of the broken system, lawyer maby?
  • 1 Hide
    digitalzom-b , December 20, 2011 5:45 PM
    leeashtonAnd I bet EVERYONE on this site has an apple product, (i have never and will never) so if you do you are f**king over other companys by buying crapple products!


    I actually don't own any apple products. I'm glad, because of douchebaggery like this.
  • -4 Hide
    scuba dave , December 20, 2011 6:17 PM
    Good job Apple. Can't really complain when a company uses the system to it's advantage. We all do in our personal lives if we can, it's just when companies do it, its much larger and more likely to upset people with the numbers involved.. Especially when the average person can't honestly imagine or perceive numbers that large. And when Apple does it, the haters, I believe, have a painful reflash of their hemorrhoids, and they must take it out on a company that does no worse than any other company. They are all the same, they just pick various areas to be shady. Like Google and it's 2.4% tax for 2010, etc.
  • -4 Hide
    phasmantis , December 20, 2011 6:23 PM
    scuba daveGood job Apple. Can't really complain when a company uses the system to it's advantage. We all do in our personal lives if we can, it's just when companies do it, its much larger and more likely to upset people with the numbers involved.. Especially when the average person can't honestly imagine or perceive numbers that large. And when Apple does it, the haters, I believe, have a painful reflash of their hemorrhoids, and they must take it out on a company that does no worse than any other company. They are all the same, they just pick various areas to be shady. Like Google and it's 2.4% tax for 2010, etc.



    Even as a clear apple fan boy, how can you be happy about a step back in convenience for users? If anything, this puts a nail in the coffin to NOT by Apple for me (and i was considering the iPhone4) because of stupid shit like this.
  • 1 Hide
    supall , December 20, 2011 6:40 PM
    Wait, so is the issue selecting the number and it automatically opens up the next app? If so, what if you clicked on the number and implemented a stop-gap with copy/open/search or whatever? Would that be the correct work around to this patent?
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