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United_States_International_Trade_Commission_seal-150x146.png


The U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled in favor (PDF) of Apple in a patent dispute with Taiwanese phone manufacturer HTC. The commission found that a number of HTC devices violate two claims related to an Apple patent. As a result of the decision, an actual ban on the importation of some HTC devices goes into effect in April of 2012.

Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents on the decision:
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.
Mueller goes on to note that it is possible for Google to implement the feature in a way that doesn't violate Apple's patents, which would render the ban meaningless. However, it does give Apple a bigger bargaining chip in its many lawsuits against Android manufacturers.

According to the decision (PDF), the patent being infringed is:

- U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647 on a "system and method causes a computer to detect and perform actions on structures identified in computer data."

This ruling echoes an earlier one by an ITC judge from July in the same case.

The United States International Trade Commission is an independent federal agency that, among other things, adjudicates cases involving imports that allegedly infringe intellectual property rights." It has the power, in rare cases, to ban infringing products from the country entirely.

Update: In a statement given to BGR, HTC says it is "well prepared for this decision, and our designers have created alternate solutions for the '647 patent."

Article Link: ITC Rules For Apple in Patent Case, Bans Some HTC Imports [Update: HTC Responds]
 

Patriot24

macrumors 68030
Dec 29, 2010
2,813
805
California
"I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this. I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong." - Steve Jobs

Up until now I guess I didn't realize how serious this situation was, probably because it hadn't affected sales in my country (U.S.) yet. It is getting pretty insane...
 

*LTD*

macrumors G4
Feb 5, 2009
10,703
1
Canada
In 2007 Steve got up on stage, having come completely out of left field with a landmark product and declared "boy have we patented it!" This goes for most of Apple's products.

Fair warning. Apple's version of the patent game was never any secret.
 

Fraaaa

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2010
1,081
0
London, UK
In 2007 Steve got up on stage, having come completely out of left field with a landmark product and declared "boy have we patented it!" This goes for most of Apple's products.

Fair warning. Apple's version of the patent game was never any secret.

Those patents really are hard to read and understand. Do you guys think that 5,946,647 refers to the capacitive screen and multitouch?
 

Piggie

macrumors G3
Feb 23, 2010
9,117
4,016
Great job Apple. Keep it up. Protect your patents to the end.

And it will be till the end as Apple will lose in the long run.

Sooner or later they will get swamped. There is no way one company can hold back the rest of the competing world, Even GIANTS like IBM had their day in certain areas......
 

Mattie Num Nums

macrumors 68030
Mar 5, 2009
2,834
0
USA
So to summarize, Apple lost all the patents against HTC, but won only 2 claims, AND it's only on some HTC devices AND it takes effect only in the end of April AND HTC just said that their "designers have created alternate solutions for the ‘647 patent."

So what did Apple won here ?

Reminds me of Samsungs HUGE loss (which really meant they had to change a scrolling feature in the Samsung Picture Gallery.)
 

Michael Scrip

macrumors 604
Mar 4, 2011
7,929
12,480
NC
And it will be till the end as Apple will lose in the long run.

Sooner or later they will get swamped. There is no way one company can hold back the rest of the competing world, Even GIANTS like IBM had their day in certain areas......

True... but then those other companies will just license said patents.
 

Icaras

macrumors 603
Mar 18, 2008
6,344
3,393
And it will be till the end as Apple will lose in the long run.

Sooner or later they will get swamped. There is no way one company can hold back the rest of the competing world, Even GIANTS like IBM had their day in certain areas......

This again? We're 10+ years and running with the iPod. Has Apple gotten swamped in that market yet? :rolleyes:

Furthermore, Apple needn't be the top market share holder for smart phones at all. They win in the Lion's share of smart phone and tablet profit everytime, and thats what really matters.
 

Rocketman

macrumors 603
This particular patent can be bypassed with a non-infringing method if such exists which would make it possible to file to terminate the ban. They would still owe license fees as well as damages for past usage. The goal is to add cost to the Android platform and channel that cost to Apple itself.

It is unlikely this or any but 2 of the next 10 similar suits will do much but temporarily threaten a ban to force a license agreement on non-FRAND and also more harsh terms, due to the pressure and lack of cooperation.

This is not likely to impact real consumers in a notable way for a year or two if ever.

It will likely impact the ecosystem of Android.

Rocketman
 

BaldiMac

macrumors G3
Jan 24, 2008
8,760
10,889

Stella

macrumors G3
Apr 21, 2003
8,837
6,334
Canada
This sounds like what Nokia has been doing for years on S60. I've been able to click on a Phone Number and the appropriate action has been taken ( i.e., the phone dialled that number ) within a 'document' ( be it email, website, or otherwise). IRC, I was also able to do this on Symbian UIQ cira 2003/4.

Not sure how why Apple's implementation would be different than Nokia's? Touch vs cursor maybe? Different enough implementation?
 
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bushido

Suspended
Mar 26, 2008
8,070
2,755
Germany
This patent crap is reminding me of all the ecommerce drama i come across with every day. I bet u half those lawyers and judges have no idea what it even means (again own experience)
 

unicorn025

macrumors member
Aug 12, 2010
78
0
this is just a symbolic win for apple, it only affected froyo and maybe gingerbread and that it.they will pay a fine and move on.
 

Mattie Num Nums

macrumors 68030
Mar 5, 2009
2,834
0
USA
Just build the phone and let the consumers decide. Chances are they will still want the best phone which is the iPhone. Just let the people make the choice not the courts. These patents aren't make or break patents.
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
So, out of the original ten patents that Apple tried to use against HTC, which later got knocked down to about four, they prevailed only on one that is of comparatively low value, which can be gotten around or removed before a ban takes place.

--

Computers have supported discovery of phone numbers, email addresses, etc in a document for a very long time. On phones, Blackberrys have been doing it for years.

All this patent is about, is one particular way of doing that, and that should be fine.

However, it must've been obvious enough for someone at Google or HTC to independently come up with the same method. Heck, just look at how many close previous references are listed in the patent, most from Microsoft. Hmm. I wonder if they could license HTC a different way...
 
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