HTC has lost a patent battle with Apple over smartphones, however we won’t see a ban on its handsets in America
In a ruling in the US, the International Trade Commission found HTC had infringed one of four patents. You can read the full results here, but the patent in question is 647 a “data tapping patent.”
This is where information is embedded in a document, which when tapped launches another application within the handset, for example this could be a phone number in an email that launches the dialler.
However, this doesn’t mean that HTC handsets will be banned in the US, because the Taiwanese company has until April 19th – when the ban comes into effect – to remove the feature. It also doesn’t apply to all the company’s phones.
Writiing on his blog patent expert Florian Mueller comments: If Google can implement this popular feature, which users of modern-day smartphones really expect, without infringing on the two patent claims found infringed, this import ban won’t have any effect whatsoever.’
He continues:’ Otherwise HTC will have to remove this feature, which would put HTC at a competitive disadvantage as compared to other smartphone vendors, including other Android device makers.’
So while this looks to be a small victory for Apple, it’s perhaps more interesting to see what Cupertino does next and whether it will prevent other manufactures from using the feature – which lets face it – is fairly common. We’ll have to wait and see.