Apple Wins a Ruling in Smartphone Patent Wars

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on Monday (Dec. 19) ruled that some key features found in Google Android smartphones infringe Apple’s patent. The ruling, which can be appealed, requires HTC (a defendant in the case) and other Android smartphone makers to adapt their devices to avoid the infringement.

The patent dispute involves the ability to tap a finger on a touchscreen to call a number in an email or text message and to schedule an appointment for a date mentioned in an email, according to The New York Times.

The ruling prevents HTC from selling smartphones in the U.S. that infringe the patent beginning April 19, 2012. President Obama’s trade representative must sign the ruling for it to take effect. The trade rep can decide to overrule the ITC’s finding, the Times says, but that would be unusual.

In a statement, HTC said its designers have “created alternate solutions” that will enable it to work around Apple’s technology patent. The company didn’t elaborate on those solutions.

Apple didn’t entirely prevail with the ITC, however. The commission overruled an earlier decision in the Apple vs. HTC patent dispute, regarding how software is organized on mobile devices. The earlier decision would have made it more cumbersome for HTC to avoid infringing Apple’s patent on software organization. The Taiwanese smartphone maker expressed pleasure that the commission had reversed its earlier ruling against HTC related to this Apple patent.


Android, Apple, smartphone, HTC, patent suit, patent wars