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Apple Wins Ban Over Import of HTC Android Devices in the US; HTC Plans to Work-Around Patent Violation

Apple’s just landed a major victory against HTC in a case where the latter was sued for violating patent  #5,946,647, a patent which details a way to analyze and link data structures at the system level.

As this is a core functionality of Android’s, other OEMs are at risk. The final decision was a future ban of imports by the ITC starting in 2012. The ban affects HTC’s devices up to Android 2.2, but 2.3+ devices have not been incriminated yet.

HTC isn’t being vexed by this, though, as they state that alternate solutions to avoid violating this patent are already in the works. HTC has until April 19th, 2012  to get these solutions into newly-shipped phones as that is the point where the ban will come into effect. Current sales won’t be affected and they can still ship in refurbished units for consumers who need replacement phones until exactly two years from now.

But if HTC does indeed have plans to introduce a workaround for this violation, they don’t have much to worry about. It’s unclear if other OEMs will take precautionary measures if Apple happens to sue them and win. Here’s HTC’s statement in full:

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. While disappointed that a finding of violation was still found on two claims of the ‘647 patent, we are well prepared for this decision, and our designers have created alternate solutions for the ‘647 patent.

So Apple won, but not in the way they might have wanted to. A workaround means HTC won’t have to pay Apple anything to license which is great because we’re not sure if Apple would have allowed them to license in the first place – we all know their motive is to get as much competition off the market as they can.

Oh, and as for Apple’s word? Here’s their one sentence sentiment:

We think competition is healthy but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, screams nothing but pure irony. [ITC via The Verge]




  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25818168 Matt Goldberg

    I saw win and thought this was the hollidroid contest…

    • https://market.android.com/developer?pub=Ender's+Games+and+Apps Brian Ouellette

      You saw win before you saw apple?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25818168 Matt Goldberg

        Yes, yes I did.

  • skinien

    So can anyone explain how they’re getting away with the notification bar in iOS 5?

    • feztheforeigner

      Fapple is just willing to sue anybody over anything. They spend all their money on the nicest lawyers to sue the crap out of everyone. Google, on the other hand, spends their money on hiring the best and brightest engineers to think of original ideas – they have no time for Apple’s ridiculous shenanigans.

      • skinien

        They need to start making time to fight back.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1142720567 Joseph Lagalla

          They have. They’ve started supplying manufacturers like Moto and HTC with patents to fight back.

    • Joshwa1

      I dont think that google had that patented… Maybe google have 0 android patents lol

    • opticblu

      What do you mean?

  • https://market.android.com/developer?pub=Ender's+Games+and+Apps Brian Ouellette

    this was the one I felt Apple was in the right. Of course they are acting like whining baby taddle-tailing on HTC. But really, are they going sue up the world because of a small software feature? Creating links from phone numbers, email and street addresses, and such that will link to the appropriate program. That seems like a feature that should be on every mobile device.

    How else are they suppose to make it do it.

    (Analyze content -> Found series of numbers -> make it a phone number link -> click to open phone app)

    Seems pretty basic to me.

    • Robert Tuck

      Exactly – I thought patents covered things that were NON-obvious.

    • zeroprotagonist

      Oddly, it was something I was doing on HTC Windows Mobile phones before the iPhone existed.

      • https://market.android.com/developer?pub=Ender's+Games+and+Apps Brian Ouellette

        The thing is about that. Apple has had this patent since 1996. I believe they created this for their newton line and early iBooks.

        • ivorycruncher

          This patent is so generic, it covers functions that are essentially inherent to all computing systems, not just mobile devices.  Somebody should sue Apple over the validity of this patent, because I’m sure there’s tons of prior art available to invalidate it.

  • http://profiles.google.com/tonycerdais Tony Cerda

    I’ll never buy another Apple product ever again! I don’t like what they represent and I don’t want to be associated with it either!

    • Nate Akers

      To be honest, I had been an android guy since I broke up with Blackberry about 3 years ago. I am also a Windows guys… I have been a Windows guy since I started using technology. I also happen to work in IT and have worn different hats, mostly as a SQL Server DBA, but also as Windows desktop and Server Admin. For a long time I said I would never buy an apple product as I worked as an apple desktop admin for a school district for a summer and decided I wanted nothing to do with them… Unfortunately, the Galaxy Nexus (Refuse to buy any android device where the manufacturer has anything to do with the updates/OS after my past experiences so Rezound and Razr were out) delays and tease of a launch finally pushed me to buy an iPhone S last Wednesday, just before the official announcement finally came from Verizon about the Gnex. I know this is hurtful for some of you committed to the good fight, but I have not been happier with a phone in my life. Also, seeing these issues coming up with Gnex just affirm my decision to select a phone $100 less at purchase and on a 3G data package as opposed to the 4G.  

      • Andrew

        Well considering 3G to 4G plans are exactly the same I don’t know why you put that in there. And if you want to buy a phone without waiting for the updates you can simply root and install custom roms, which shouldn’t be too hard considering you already work with technology on a daily basis. I don’t know about everyone else, but I buy Android phones because I love them, I used to love Ios and loved to work with ipod touches and Iphones, but always found it kind of lacking. Bought my Droid and never looked back. I’ve used the iphone 4 and I still prefer my OG droid. You sound surprised the Galaxy Nexus had issues on launch. If you haven’t noticed ALL phones have had issues on launch. Why didn’t you buy a phone that you liked and worked for you in the first place?

        • Nate Akers

          LIke you I worked with custom roms even dating back to my blackberry days. I just have come to the belief that when you pay as much as we do for these devices, we shouldn’t have to take things into our own hands. All I am saying is that my experience has pushed me to believe Apple provides the best/user friendly experience for the money. I could just be getting old too lol.

          • Andrew

            Well Apple does provide the most user friendly experience, that is something I have never doubted, but best experience, thats up to each individual person. I like Androids experience, I love to flash roms and always push towards the newest stuff. Iphone you can’t really do that.

          • Nate Akers

            Good point. To each his own. 

          • Irvin Vazquez

            Not to dig a knife in you but I think it might be the age factor. My mother is well above 50 and no one makes any worthy feature phones any more that have the older folks in mind. So my solution is an iphone for her it’s so simple even she can’t mess it up. Android will always edge on apple in technology but apple has a way to simplify things that appeals to most people. My friends think that icloud is just genius and new even though they have had Android… they’ve seen how google has been using the cloud to do even little things like backing up and re syncing their contacts but the average person gets fooled by pretty marketing. If Google would just make a edgy commercial highlighting every new feature and explaining it Android would then be able to take some of apples market but till now the only thing apple has over google is marketing, they’re pretty much behind on everything else.

          • Aeires

            “I just have come to the belief that when you pay as much as we do for these devices, we shouldn’t have to take things into our own hands.”

            That’s an interesting stance.  Personally, I like the fact with Android, you can take things into your own hands, if you want to.  Things may be smoother and more polished on iOS, but the lack of freedom it comes with will make me never purchase a device with iOS on it.  

  • Phil Tsai


    A system and method causes a computer to detect and perform actions on structures identified in computer data. The system provides an analyzer server, an application program interface, a user interface and an action processor. ”

    A server and a method for doing something based on structured data?  An API, UI and an action processor?  Isn’t that basically a description of the MVC pattern connected to a service provider?  I mean, if you can patent the MVC pattern, well that covers half the software that exists… 

    • http://twitter.com/droid_73 Dwayne Wilkinson

      My thoughts precisely… that could also be construed to include loading an office productivity document (analyser server) working on it (application program interface and UI) and then printing it out (action processor), or am I being too literal?

      It’s crap whichever way you look at it, I’m just glad I’m able to skip their soppy, vomit inducing adverts whenever they appear on TV :) 

    • http://lostsync.net/ lostsync

      I just read the abstract, but it certainly seems like the patent covers just about every piece of software written since the dawn of the Internet. 

  • Kevin

    Doesn’t apple steal ideas and say they made it ? Then sue the people who made it!

  • http://twitter.com/AKidNamedClewis Caleb Lewis

    What I gathered from this: Apple just got a raging hard-on, HTC has on their pokerface, and the day before four twenty. 

  • The_ATL_Guy

    Shite I thought we were done with all this BS. 

  • Kelly O’Keefe

    eh sit and spin apple, your lawsuits show your weakness…..

  • http://Phandroid Victor

    Agreed how are they getting away with the pull down toggle when Android had it first?

    • BlogReader24

      obviously android didn’t patent it. 

  • ant

    Hey HTC here is a thought. Update your devices to at least 2.3!!!

    Instead of trying to release a new phone on each carrier every month focus on releasing one or 2 per year that have no bug issues and dont infringe on anyone else!

  • Robert Manser

    Wow fuckin wow and I just said I was going to stop bashing Apple well fuck you Ifags, Ipussy, fuck you Apple this is why your starting to fail as a company. Wow all you Ifags can have a party in your pants.

  • tizzyzz

    Funny to see how scared apple is of competition must be crapping products they are putting out and now Samsung is making their chips per CNN they might want to leave Samsung alone or no more chips for them ha ha

  • ShangTsung702

    They’re doing whatever they can since Steve Jobs is dead.  He was a Hitler anyway.  F-Apple, forever.

  • https://market.android.com/developer?pub=Ender's+Games+and+Apps Brian Ouellette

    Oh yeah!
    Found another patent.
    http://www.google.com/patents/US20100004032

    This is brought to you by RIM

    ‘A method and mobile device for initiating telephone calls through a
    wireless communication network are provided. Number strings are
    identified in text displayed on a visual display of the mobile device.
    Number strings may be hyperlinked when the strings meet predetermined
    criteria. The mobile device monitors for a predetermined user input and
    upon detecting the predetermined user input causes a list of user
    selectable functions to be displayed on the visual display. The list of
    user selectable functions includes a telephone call function for
    initiating a telephone call to a selected number string. A telephone
    call to the selected number string can be initiated through the wireless
    communications network when the telephone call function is selected.’

  • jonathanbond110111

    ITC: in the case of Apple Vs. HTC, I hearby ban the sales of HTC phones in the US

    Apple: Yes! Competition slows down again!

    HTC: what!? Your banning my sales because of a damn ability to tap a phone number in an e mail and dial it!? This is rediculous

    Samsung: yo H, just do what I did and replace it with something else

    Motorola: is HTC gonna be a household name like Samsung is in Australia?

    HTC: that’s irrelevant. Right now I just have to fix this crap

    Samsung: man patents are a bitch

    Motorola: you remember that guy that invented the transmission in the early 1900s?

    LG: oh yea, that guy made the transmission for the tanks in the US. But he never patent them. He wanted to continue innovation. He knew he couldn’t perfect it by himself

    Samsung: seems like Apple still doesn’t get it

    Apple: I’m coming for you Android

    Motorola: eat our dust you anti competitive son of a bitch!

    Samsung: calm down Motorola. Everyone is pissed to day

  • Guest

    Good. I am so tired of companies stealing Apple’s ideas!

    • InspectorGadget80

      Then why are you on this site? Go on iphone fan site.

    • LarryVandemeer

      You mean like Android’s notifications??? Or do you mean Motorola’s patents that Apple stole and been using for years now???

      • BlogReader24

        if apple stole patents from motorola, I’m sure they would have sued by now… they’ve been in the game long enough to pull some weight.  and don’t you think android would’ve sued apple by now if they had ENFRINGED on adroid’s PATENTS?

    • budman68

      Why aren’t you tired of apple stealing from other companies?

      http://www.ubergizmo.com/2011/11/apple-loses-to-motorola-in-german-lawsuit/

  • http://www.ezphonedeals.com Steve Ramirez

    This is ridiculous! Is this the only way Apple can compete now? Stop suing your competitors and focus on innovating. I won’t buy another Apple product until they stop this madness.

  • http://www.phandroid.com alzapuas

    Fuck crapple and its icrap, it would be better for HTC to upgrade all its latest devices to ice and that would perhaps solve some of this ban

  • https://market.android.com/developer?pub=Ender's+Games+and+Apps Brian Ouellette

    Hmmmmm…Looks like this technology has been around for a very long time. A google search brought me to this page.
    http://www.articleonepartners.com/patent-research-community/threads/870-invalidating-info-on-apple-U.S.-Patent-N-5-946-647-to-shut-down-all-android-phones

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SideKick#1.0

    Borland had a program called Sidekick which could recognize a phone number and dial it using a computer modem. This was back in the 80′s with DOS. They also released it on windows.
    Sidekick was abandoned by borland when the developer left. He took sidekick with him. He then created Starfish software. He sold starfish with sidekick along with it to Motorola!  Now finally Nokia owns the rights to Starfish.

    So should it be Apple or Nokia suing HTC (Google)?

  • opticblu

    I’m really glad Android is open source and free and everything, but HTC really needs to come up with something of their own. I’m for patent reform, but maybe this will force HTC into not copying Apple and we can get something new and innovative!

    • bmg314

      Are you a barista? 0_o

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Craig-R-Nelson/584668896 Craig R Nelson

    wow so if you can’t beat them. Sue them and eliminate competition. So sad

  • ScottColbert

    Apple makes Kim Jong il seem reasonable. Too soon?

    • Alexander Ramirez

      What an ill comment to make…. 

      • Salvador Martinez

        i knew the jokes wouldnt take jong

    • chuckles87

      apple makes hitler, sudan, and castro look like saints.

  • jackdubl

    So this only affects old HTC phones? My Thunderbolt is 2.3.5. Not affected?

  • InspectorGadget80

    This really pisses me off. Now it makes me hate Apple more than ever. I Will NEVER BUY A APPLE product or ipod EVER! APPLE is too much of being a DICK to admit their afraid of HTC. And dont like competition. How can u call competition is healthy when U Apple Ass keep suing every manufacturer?

  • stereomax

    The press is claiming that it’s just a small victory but I am not so sure about that. 

    Imagine you get an e-mail but you can’t use links embedded in it? 

    Soon swipe to unlock.. Then gestures..

    Apple has filed for hundreds of patents related to the iPhone and IOS and has been granted many. They also have 3000+ already. It’s impossible to build a proper competitive phone without violating Apple IP. 

    This kind of sums it up.

    “HTC has had comparatively few patent filings leading up to the introduction of the original iPhone in June 2007. Specifically, HTC filed zero patents with the US Patent office between 2004 and 2007 while Apple filed 507 and Google filed 67 over the same period.”

    HTC has brought a knife to a gunfight. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/kdsandeep Sandeep Deshpande

    Pyrrhic victory for Apple. Now android will complete the job of dominating iphone.

  • Nemesys06

    Apple can suck a big donkey… To cleanly state it, apply had never invented their own product. Everything they make is a technology they stole themselves

  • http://androidtidbits.com Guillermo Martinez

    “We think competition is healthy but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”
    Oh common Apple, so you’re saying your notification bar menu was original? I think Apple is just so desperate in reaching its number 1 spot again in the market.

    Why not spend your time developing new phones instead of suing others of their work.

  • Poopandpoop

    That should be apple’s new slogan, if you can’t beat em, sue em.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Hight/1143997714 Jason Hight

    Obviously patent reform would be a good thing.  I’m all for having rights to IP…but not stuff that is so basic.  Like if you have a supercrazyawesome algorithm or something, more power to you, protect yourself.  But this crap?  Get real.

    I really love OSX and wanted my next computer to be a Mac ( I have an old school G5 on it’s last legs) but I think I’m gonna go ahead and not do that.  Apple has lost my love ( I never did love the iPhone…booooring).  I can’t respect a company that sues instead of innovates.  I wish Windows didn’t suck so much.  I’ve been using Linux off and on for 15 years, but it still just doesn’t have the mainstream software support.

    Bleh.  Screw you Apple, go die in a fire (the company, not the people…I wouldn’t wish dying in a fire on anybody)

  • chuckles87

    i cant wait till the iphone 4s2 is released. it will be the same phone and maybe people will realize its there in no point in buying a iphone anymore.