HTC seeks for an appeal, several Android devices or functions might be banned from the U.S.
ITC judge determined on 15 July (U.S. Time) that HTC is in infringement of two Apple patents, out of ten patents Apple asserted in the patent infringement complaint against HTC. The initial determination by an administrative law judge is subject to review by the full six-member commission of ITC.
According to a Bloomberg
report, Grace Lei, general counsel for HTC, has issued an email statement, saying that HTC will "vigorously fight these two remaining patents through an appeal before the ITC commissions who make the final decision."
Apart from this complaint, Apple had recently filed a second ITC complaint against HTC. As reported by patent issues focused blog FOSS Patents
, Apple has asserted five more patents in the second ITC complaint, but no determination or recommendation from ITC has been made yet. Also, Apple is suing HTC in three separate federal lawsuits, that Apple has 16 other patents in action against HTC.
Should the commission affirms the administrative law judge's determination, several Android-based HTC products might be banned from U.S. imports. But it's just the beginning of the nightmare.
Technology website AllthingsD
has stated the patents that HTC found to infringe, namely:
"5,946,647 and 6,343,263. The first describes a “system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer,” the second a “real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data.” According to the ITC, HTC has infringed claims 1, 8, 15 and 19 of the ’647 patent and 1, 2, 24 and 29 of the ’263 patent."
FOSS Patents, after checking into the patents, suggested that " They are very likely to be infringed by code that is at the core of Android," and the two patents are also at issue between Apple and Motorola. That means not only Android powered HTC phones, but other Android phones, might be banned from importing to the U.S. too.
Another approach is that HTC will have to suggest a workaround for changing the behavior or functionalities of its Android phones in order to remain in the market. Apart from the ban, HTC might also have to pay for settlement, which would affect the company's market and financial positions. Earlier this week, HTC shares slumped
after Apple files more complaints and took new legal actions against the company. As sales and market share of HTC begins to grow, the initial determination is really a bad news in a very bad time.
On one hand, Apple has scored a partial victory in the legal actions against HTC, or other Android smartphone vendors. However, on the other hand, HTC has bought S3 Graphics, a company that obtained administrative legal judge determination in a infringement complaint against Apple. Moreover, Apple is still on several aggressive legal actions against another Android phone maker Samsung, including motion for preliminary injunction against several Samsung Android devices, while Samsung has also filed ITC complaints against Apple. Apple still got a long way to go in the legal process against different vendors.