May 16, 2012
Import of HTC One X And Evo 4G LTE Delayed For Patent Infringement
The patent wars continue and show little sign of letting up -- and even less mercy for the infringers. Android handset maker HTC was found guilty last December of infringing a patent held by Apple and that ruling has now resulted in a ban on the importation and sale of any HTC phones in the US that use technology involving that patent.
The International Trade Commission (ITC) found that Android´s messaging app and browser infringed upon an Apple patent which covers automatically converting information such as phone numbers and email addresses into actionable links that open a menu of options, reports BBC News.
The ban was delayed so HTC could engineer around Apple´s patent claims, but it went into effect on April 19th – and although HTC claimed so-called “data tapping” was a “small UI experience” that would be completely removed from its US Android devices, Customs officials are now reviewing HTC mobile devices One X and Evo 4G LTE.
HTC released a statement explaining it was trying to resolve the issue with the authorities.
“The US availability of the HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE has been delayed due to a standard U.S. Customs review of shipments that is required after an ITC exclusion order. We believe we are in compliance with the ruling and HTC is working closely with Customs to secure approval. The HTC One X and HTC Evo 4G LTE have been received enthusiastically by customers and we appreciate their patience as we work to get these products into their hands as soon as possible.”
US Customs and Border Protection is in charge of enforcing the ITC order and has free reign to handle this situation any way it wants; there are really no formal rules governing how exclusion orders are interpreted or enforced, reports Nilay Patel for The Verge.
The final enforcement instructions delivered by Customs to its officers are totally classified, to the point that they are even excluded from Freedom of Information Act requests. At this point HTC can do nothing while it waits for Customs to issue a decision.