Apple Wants To Block HTC...Again
June 7, 2012

Apple Wants To Block HTC…Again

Michael Harper for

It was only last week that HTC was finally able to convince customs agents and the ITC to allow their new batch of Android smartphones to land an American soil. Apple had, of course, filed a complaint with the ITC, saying HTC had infringed upon some of their patents regarding the way a phone number of URL in an email or text was turned into an actionable item, such as dialing a phone number or jumping to a web page.

Now, despite Tim Cook´s comments at last week´s All Things D conference, Apple has once again filed a complaint against HTC with the ITC, marking the third time Apple has taken such action against the Taiwanese company. This week´s filing is a follow-up from the previous complaint, which was originally filed in December 2011. According to the Foss Patents blog, Apple is not pleased with how HTC fixed this “data tapping” issue and says they are still violating their patents.

“Apple is now asking the ITC for an emergency proceeding and enforcement action to prevent further infringement,” writes Florian Mueller for Foss Patents.

All told, this new, revised complaint targets 29 HTC phones, including, but certainly not limited to, the HTC One X, One S, One V, Inspire 4G and Sensation 4G.

HTC has a lot at stake with their new One series. As Asia´s second-largest smartphone manufacturer, HTC is hoping their new lineup will improve their share of the market, which reached $312 billion last year according to Bloomberg.

The company was able to squeeze out 4.5% of the global market last quarter, down considerably from their best quarter last year.

“HTC has worked long and hard to get itself back on track and this is aimed at what everyone looks at as a new beginning with the One series,” said Will Stofega, an IDC analyst. “HTC has been having a rough patch and this is them getting kicked again.”

If the ITC doesn´t place yet another ban on HTC phones, Apple will ask them to make the One series maker pay an entrance fee for every phone that enters the states to the tune of roughly $290 a piece, according to the June 4th filing.

Now, the ITC will have to evaluate Apple´s claims and determine if HTC violates these “data tapping” patents. Otherwise, this patent will go to court in Chicago next week as a part of another trial between Apple and Motorola, according to Foss Patents.

For their part, Motorola tried to get the patent declared invalid, but a judge said this patent may in fact be infringed.

This entire legal matter goes back to Steve´s Apple and their “thermonuclear war” against all things Google and Android. While Tim Cook has been making some moves lately which suggest a softer, more welcoming side of Apple, cases such as these continue to wage onward. For instance, Apple continues their fight against Samsung, refusing to settle out of court with one another. On the other hand, reports had come in from China that Apple was willing to settle a long-standing case with Proview Technologies about the iPad trademark.

A successful ban against HTC phones in the states could be a damming blow to an already struggling competitor, and strengthening the competition between Apple and Samsung.