Apple Wins Huge Patent Victory Over HTC & Android

Apple Wins Huge Patent Victory Over HTC & Android

Apple has just won a huge victory against HTC, makers of many popular Android handsets, which could see many of HTC’s devices banned from the U.S. unless certain offending features are removed.

The International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in Apple’s favor on Monday in an ongoing patent dispute, and has issued an import ban on many HTC devices to begin on April 19, 2012. Any HTC Android phones using the offending features will be banned from sale in the U.S. unless the feature is removed before then.

While the decision sounds great for Apple, however, it’s really not as massive of a win as it seems. FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller reports:

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.

As it turns out, it may be possible to implement the offending feature in a slightly modified way that doesn’t violate Apple’s patent (thereby avoiding a sales ban), but this will no doubt make it easier for Apple to win further cases against Android manufacturers.

For more information, check out the full decision (PDF), including a detailed explanation of the particular patent involved.

Is this the beginning of a massive legal move by Apple against Android? Will Apple begin attacking every Android handset manufacturer on the planet? My guess is that they will, and I’ll be sure to have some popcorn and a soda ready to watch the epic battle unfold.

  1. WTF APPLE?????????

    I’m typing from a MacBook Air right now, but i mean, WHY would you do that? You should attack GOOGLE, not HTC!

    Darn, now you begin to be annoying…

    1. C Eric Peters says:

      What you people and many people don’t seem to understand is that if Apple (or other companies) don’t do this, they throw away their rights to do it later. Lets say down the road everyone is stepping all over a patent, then [company] finally decides, “ok, I’m going after the big company, because they’ll give me the most money” … The judge will ask “why didn’t you go after all these other companies for all these years before? Why choose now? If you didn’t care before, why do you care now?” . It’s been Apple’s policy to immediately go after these cases to set a case they can always turn to. Back to Windows, back to the iMac clones in the 90s. This is how you hold your patents, copyright, trademarks and designs. Apple has always and consistently been copied, this is part of their business. 

    2. C Eric Peters says:

      … and just to add. Apple also loses some of these cases as well and sometimes they are on the other end. That’s just how this goes. Win some, lose some. It’s not like Apple is the ONLY company doing it, but they are a prominent company, so they are in the spotlight. Get into the hardware and software design business and see how much you’ll protect your designs and creations. 

  2. JG says:

    The thought of Apple becoming that much of a patent troll makes me a sad panda.

    1. Patent troll doesn’t mean what you think it means.

  3. Th3n0rthsid3 says:

    It’s just a fact of the tech market these days unfortunately.  Nearly every major tech company has multiple lawsuits in progress or pending.  It’s just a regular business expense now.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What all this B.S. is doing is basically shutting down creative software development with all of these patently obvious “inventions.” Apple was hardly the first to implement a design where you click on a link to bring up another app. Not sure who’s worse: Apple or the USPTO which is populated by a bunch of morons. I’ve bought my LAST Apple product.

    1. C Eric Peters says:

      It’s not that they thought of it, it’s HOW it’s done. So these companies just need to change the method. Just like creating a car engine, the company doesn’t create the engine they patent a new method of engine – like the boxter or rotary engine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *