the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”), a federal agency, just so we are clear, said Monday they are siding with Apple against HTC and will impose a ban that will enforce an import ban on HTC Corp. (“HTC”) phones that infringe on a patent belonging to the iPhone maker. In other words, Apple’s iPhone does not violate (as HTC and their partner Google and likely prayed) four patents owned by HTC. this is a significant blow to HTC, and probably Google.
so… perhaps the headline should read, instead, “Apple Wins Partial Victory on Patent Claim Over Android Features”.
the ITC said in a final ruling that HTC may import some refurbished phones to offer customers as replacements under warranties and insurance plans. HTC, which is based in Taiwan, is a major maker of phones that use Google Inc.’s Android operating software.
the ban takes effect April 19, 2012 so that wireless carriers will have time to adjust their plans. but, it also means customers have an open-door to bail on HTC devices, and that has grim ramifications for Google, that is again caught in the midst of “evil” /1. this involves a set of important features commonly found in smartphones that are obviously protected by an Apple patent, a decision that could force changes in the way Google’s Android phones function.
Apple spokeswoman Kristen Huguet reiterated an earlier statement, saying competitors (i.e. GOOGLE and HTC) should, “create their own technology”. I’ll add, not steal it from Apple.
NOTE: the ITC ruling can be appealed. But it is one of the most significant so far in a growing array of closely watched patent battles being waged around the globe by nearly all of the major players in the mobile industry. in fact, the case is part of a broader dispute involving Apple, HTC and many other phone makers. in federal courts and before the ITC, companies have been accusing one another of stealing ideas for popular phone features. while the courts can award damages, the commission has the broader and debilitating power to block imports of products and parts made with contested technology.
in fairness to how people might organize their own thinking around stock acquisition, or not, the ruling was only a partial victory for Apple because the commission did overrule an earlier decision in Apple’s favor in the case, involving a patent related to how software is organized internally on mobile devices. in simpler terms, it would have been harder for the defendant, again HTC, one of the world’s largest makers of smartphones that run the Android system, to adapt its devices to avoid infringing that patent. that’s what legal experts say, in any event.
but, this is clearly decisive for Apple; potentially deadly for HTC (whom by the way blew it in negotiations with Apple when they had an opportunity to be part of the build process for the iPhone); and certainly problematic for Google whose advocates have had to constantly twist numbers to make it appear that it can compete with the iPhone in terms of the masses Android “can have”, and opposed to the iPhone “must have”.
people of discerning taste can eat Apples with better results. and, obviously Androids can’t.
peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
brian patrick cork
1/ Google was supposedly founded under a mandate of “do no evil”. but, that hasn’t worked-out very well, for anyone associated with them.