Skip to main content

Apple lands jab to Android with legal victory over HTC

HTC Droid Incredible
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The U.S. International Trade Commission has handed Apple a partial victory in its patent infringement litigation against Taiwanese phone maker HTC, ruling that HTC phones violate a single Apple patent related to detecting data items within otherwise unformatted content. Along with the ruling, the ITC has issued a limited import exclusion order (PDF) that will go into effect on April 19, barring the import of infringing phones into the United States.

Although the ITC’s decision is less than the sweeping ban on HTC Android devices Apple sought, the ruling still marks a significant victory in Apple’s escalating battle with Android, which Apple co-founder Steve Jobs characterized as a “stolen product.” However, the net impact of the decision may be non-existent in the U.S. market: HTC has until April 19 to get non-infringing phones into its distribution pipeline, and the company confirms via email that it will remove the infringing technology from its phones soon, and anticipates there won’t be any disruption in the availability of HTC phones in the U.S. market. HTC is also widely expected to appeal the ruling.

The Apple patent in question (US 5,946,647) has to do with “data detectors,” algorithms that can recognize things like phone numbers, email addresses, Web site names, and other actionable data items within an otherwise unstructured document like an email message. HTC has likely dodged a bullet by having not been found to have infringed on another patent, the much-broader ‘263 patent named in the case covering aspects of signal processing.

HTC is currently the second-largest maker of Android phones; Apple’s patent infringement case against HTC is widely viewed as a proxy battle over Android, rather than suing Google directly. Apple has a second complaint against HTC pending before the International Trade Commission, claiming other HTC smartphones and the company’s Flyer tablet infringe on five patents regarding user interface and software design. Similarly, HTC has countersued Apple with two cases of its own before the ITC; one is still pending, but the ITC ruled in Apple’s favor on the other.

Editors' Recommendations

Geoff Duncan
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Geoff Duncan writes, programs, edits, plays music, and delights in making software misbehave. He's probably the only member…
How to reverse image search on Android or iPhone

A reverse image search is a handy way to figure out the origin of an image, locate similar images, or fact check an image. There are a multitude of ways to perform a reverse image search on your mobile device, whether you're using an Android phone or an iPhone.

For example, here's how to do a reverse image search via Google lens on Android:

Read more
The DOJ has sued Apple over the iPhone. Here’s what it means for you
The Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro seen from the back.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro (left) and iPhone 15 Pro Max Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

If you're reading this article, chances are you have an iPhone. It's also quite likely that your friends and family members also use an iPhone. The iPhone is the smartphone of choice for millions of people in the U.S., and now, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is suing Apple over the iPhone monopoly it has established over the years.

Read more
How to get new emojis on your iPhone or Android device
Emoji reactions on Google Messages running on OnePlus 11.

Text messaging has quickly become the default form of communication on smartphones. Sure, you can give your buddy a call to update them on your plans for the weekend, but it's not quite as quick and streamlined as a simple text. And combined with the ever-growing library of emojis available on iPhone and Android, it's easier than ever to ensure your tone and true meaning are received loud and clear by your recipient.

Read more