An International Trade Commission judge made a preliminary ruling on Friday that HTC, the Taiwanese Android-based handset maker, had infringed on two Apple patents. One relates to data detection technology used in e-mail and text messages. The other concerns a data-transmission system. Ten patents were looked at by the judge.
According to a Bloomberg report, the ruling is not final and will be reviewed by the full commission at a later date.
HTC’s Grace Lei was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that the company will “vigorously fight these two remaining patents through an appeal before the ITC commissioners who make the final decision.”
Apple will be hoping the commission upholds the decision, for it could mean an import ban on several HTC products (including the new Flyer tablet) that run on the Android OS.
Apple’s gripe is that its smartphone rivals have been infringing on its technology in areas such as interface, hardware and architecture.
Last year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs made the company’s feelings regarding possible infringements abundantly clear when he said, “We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it.”
Google’s Android operating system for mobile devices is clearly holding its own against Apple’s iOS devices such as the iPhone and iPad, with a report this week showing it to be the most popular mobile operating system in the US for the seventh month in a row. Apple’s iOS was in second place. Regarding actual devices, Apple’s iPhone 4 remains the biggest seller.