In the latest twist of the ongoing smartphone patent wars, the US trade organisation the ITC has ruled that HTC infringes upon some Apple technical patents and has banned the import of a number of the firm’s Android devices.
While the move is a blow for HTC, the ban will not come into effect until April next year so that HTC can demonstrate software workarounds to avoid Apple’s two patent claims.
One of the key claims is the usual sort of blindeningly obvious feature that tends to get up as ‘innovation’ in the US patent system. The so called ‘data-tapping’ feature provides the ability to click on a phone number in an email to be connected to the number.
The ruling is also subject to a two-month review and faces almost certain appeal from the Taiwanese smartphone giant. HTC also said that the firm would remove the feature from phones altogether.
Patent activist Florian Mueller said that Apple would need to do better if the firm hoped to have any real impact against Android via the courts.