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Apple Loses Bid For Emergency Ban On HTC Phone Imports 305

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the itc-being-sane-you-don't-say dept.
New submitter tukang writes "The US International Trade Commission has rejected an emergency request by Apple to detain some HTC phones (including the One X and EVO 4G) at the border while the agency investigates Apple's claims of patent infringement. In May, HTC's phone shipment was held up at the border and was only allowed to pass after U.S. Customs and Border Protection received assurances that HTC worked around Apple patents, a claim which Apple disputes."
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Apple Loses Bid For Emergency Ban On HTC Phone Imports

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @04:19AM (#40525235)

    Apple isn't behaving well but they still have a long way to go to reach Microsoft levels of evil.

    I mean, MS included a BROWSER in their OS. ...and they didn't even give you a way to uninstall it! Now THAT is pure evil.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @04:28AM (#40525277)
      Isn't that what Apple is doing ?
    • by TheoGB (786170)
      Yeah, a browser. I mean, that's really beyond that pale. Who on earth needs a browser these days? (Now if you'd said a shoddy, substandard, open-to-attacks browser, that might have read a bit better.)
    • by bky1701 (979071) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @04:50AM (#40525375) Homepage
      Yeah, well, Microsoft lets you do things with your computer that are UNSAFE, like install software NOT APPROVED by them. Can you believe how evil Microsoft is? And Google actually helps these "open source" pirates to steal our great ideas! Obviously, Apple is the good guy here. They're not anti-competitive - just innovative, trendy, and easy to use! None of that "freedom" nonsense. You'll use Apple and you'll like it. Trust us!

      Fully prepared to be accused of being an "Apple hater" for not buying the Apple agenda, and being modded down by some people who probably are making use of not-so-above-board mod points. But hey, karma to burn.
      • by TheoGB (786170) <theo@graham-brown.[ ].uk ['org' in gap]> on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @05:00AM (#40525429) Homepage
        On Slashdot I always thought that slamming Apple was fine so long as you made it clear that you were a dyed-in-the-wool *nix fanboy. I'm not sure you managed to put that across, though. Damn...
      • by Dynetrekk (1607735) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @06:15AM (#40525733)

        Yeah, well, Microsoft lets you do things with your computer that are UNSAFE, like install software NOT APPROVED by them.

        I've got mod points, but I'll rather point out that on my mac I often compile and install software that has never been approved by anyone. Mac OS X is unix, so ./configure; make works rather often. I'm not a "fanboi" but I'm not too impressed by claims not supported by facts, either.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @06:30AM (#40525815)

          Yes, but if you buy one of Apple's pocket-sized computers you need to constantly fight with the manufacturer to install any Unapproved Software on it.

        • by walshy007 (906710) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @07:03AM (#40525967)
          Give it time, while apple's future is hard to predict the general trend seems to be going to more lock down the better, hell with the next os x having developer signing they are paving the way for the future lock down. All they'd have to do is change a setting to refuse to run things not signed by them and the transformation would be complete.
        • by samoanbiscuit (1273176) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @07:10AM (#40526013)
          I wrote a long screed about "teh Apple is evulz!". Then I took a breath, deleted it, and decided to say only this: If you are a user that prefers to compile and install your own software in a manner not explicitly approved by Apple (like a developer's licence), you should just keep your options open. At this point in the game, the OS X is more likely to change to resemble iOS than the other way around. Might not happen, but options are always good.
          • Right, so I have an arch linux box, too. pacman > App Store, for so many reasons I can't begin to list them.
      • Care to point out what the "Apple agenda" is, which you are not buying. And care to point out which freedoms you don't jaÂve on a Mac?

      • Yeah, well, Microsoft lets you do things with your computer that are UNSAFE

        Porsche vehicles have all kinds of features to prevent unsafe driving (ABS, traction control, stability control, etc.) yet we don't hate Porsche like we hate Apple. What's the deal??

        • Apple's products don't weight over a ton, and aren't capable of speeds up to 200mph.
          • by Lumpy (12016)

            "Apple's products don't weight over a ton, and aren't capable of speeds up to 200mph...."

            I have had several apple products up to 200 mph and far higher than that. They are certainly capable of speeds of over 200mph.

            Now doing that under their own power? that's another story.

          • by gmuslera (3436)
            Apple's products can get accelerations of 10m/s^2, in fact, a lot should. Microsoft ones too, anyway
        • by Entrope (68843) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @07:03AM (#40525963) Homepage

          I'm not an auto fanatic, so inform me if I have missed something: Has Porsche been using software and look-and-feel patents of questionable validity and worth to take their competitors' products off the market?

      • The real evil is of course evolution itself, because it came up with the idea of "copy-and-improve" in the first place.

        Actually, it makes sense now, the biblical Apple going against evolution.

      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        Yeah, well, Microsoft lets you do things with your computer that are UNSAFE, like install software NOT APPROVED by them. Can you believe how evil Microsoft is? And Google actually helps these "open source" pirates to steal our great ideas! Obviously, Apple is the good guy here. They're not anti-competitive - just innovative, trendy, and easy to use! None of that "freedom" nonsense. You'll use Apple and you'll like it. Trust us!

        It seems, lately, that the greatest innovation to come from Apple is how to creatively use the broken patent system to thwart competition.

    • by Flipao (903929) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @05:06AM (#40525463)
      MS including a browser with the OS that had no regard for existing standards set the web back some 5-6 years. If it hadn't been for Opera, Firefox and later Chrome and Safari (on mobile) web developers all over the world might have hanged themselves by now. Yeah, they were evil then, they are evil now.
      • by Dog-Cow (21281) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @06:28AM (#40525797)

        If you think that pushing a piece of software that doesn't follow some arbitrary standard is evil, you have a perspective warped beyond imagining.

        • Pushing software isn't evil. Abusing a monopoly position to eradicate the competition is.
        • by Flipao (903929)
          The HTML4 standard was not some arbitrary standard, it was the foundation on which the modern web was built. Microsoft chose to ignore a good chunk of it pushing its own agenda instead with the objective of both protecting its monopoly and expanding it to the web.

          Also, by pushing IE into every new computer or Windows Installation, Microsoft drove Netscape out of business, this is something for which they were criminally convicted.

          They're not just evil, Apple can be considered evil and Microsoft are th
    • Why are Microsoft apologists so clueless?

      http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/f3800/msjudgex.htm [justice.gov]

    • by pnot (96038) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @05:39AM (#40525597)

      I mean, MS included a BROWSER in their OS. ...and they didn't even give you a way to uninstall it! Now THAT is pure evil.

      Absolutely! Good thing I can uninstall Safari from my Mac, easy as -- wait, what's this?

      ”Safari.app” can’t be modified or deleted because it’s required by Mac OS X. [osxdaily.com]

      The article does mention that you can rm -rf it from the command line, but cautions that this "could result in abnormal system behavior or improper functionality".

    • by ajo_arctus (1215290) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @06:00AM (#40525667) Homepage

      It wasn't the way they 'included a browser', it was they way they attempted (and succeeded) to entirely destroy a competitive market by using the thermo-nuclear option of abusing their Windows monopoly.

      And it wasn't the way they did it with the web browser, it was the way they did it time and time again (Dr-Dos, OS/2, DiskStacker, WordPerfect, Netware, Netscape, DirectX) and certainly more than that. They even tried to create a proprietary internet (and thankfully failed).

      They don't seem so evil these days, but I'm sure they would if they could. Or maybe Ballmer's just a big softy compared to Gates? I don't know, I suspect that the competition in mobile and from Google has really dented their ability to be really evil.

      • the US government had dozens and dozens of things they could have sued Microsoft for doing, which you mentioned, but what did they actually choose as charges?

        "Browser bundling". Not only can you not explain this to the ordinary person on the street ( or on a jury ) , it is actually kind of offensive to people with some experience in the technology industry. Honestly, why in the @#$ should they be banned from putting a browser on their machine - does that mean Ubuntu cant, or Apple cant?

        it was a royal foul u

      • by snowgirl (978879)

        They don't seem so evil these days, but I'm sure they would if they could. Or maybe Ballmer's just a big softy compared to Gates? I don't know, I suspect that the competition in mobile and from Google has really dented their ability to be really evil.

        I don't know... by their personalities, one would expect Ballmer to be the crazy man... but then it's always the quiet ones, isn't it?

        I suspect that your later guess is the more likely culprit. I like to think that Apple put a big dent in things as well.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by humanrev (2606607)

        Netscape

        I'm sorry but I have to call you out there. The browser war involving IE vs Netscape was partially won by IE being bundled with Windows making the downloading of Netscape redundant. I'd wager another big reason for Netscape losing the war simply was because it was SHIT compared to IE 4. I distinctly remember switcing from Netscape to IE 4 and then IE 5 because IE was, believe it or not, fast and snappy whereas Netscape had degraded into a bloated, crappy shell of its former self. Making the effort t

    • by Mr0bvious (968303)

      Surely this was meant as humor, no?

      I hate IE and I understand that people hate(d) Microsoft's monopoly on the desktop and the browser just made it worse, but really people, do we really think that's such an evil thing? Why don't we get so upset about Notepad, Regedit, Paint, etc? They're equally crap. Why was IE singled out from all the other non OS features included with Windows? IE is just a feature shipped with the OS. Don't Apple ship Safari with OSX?

      If anything, shipping IE for free with the OS was (in

      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @09:12AM (#40527247) Journal

        Good grief, it hasn't been that long. The antitrust case didn't start over IE, it started because Microsoft threatened to withhold OEM pricing from any manufacturer who chose to install Netscape on new computers. This was after they had already been nailed for doing the same damned thing over Dr. DOS a few years before.

        The abuse of monopoly was over OEM pricing. Because OEM copies of Windows are so significantly discounted, it was a clear case of a use of monopoly.

  • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @04:19AM (#40525237)
    An emergency claim of patent infringement, surely calling it an "emergency" is taking the piss. Was someone's life or health in danger or just someone's bottom line.

    There should be some punishment for misusing patent law and the ITC/courts like this. Perhaps the court should ban the plaintiffs competing product for 6-12 months when an allegation is found to be false...

    But if that happened, Apple would just find another legal loophole to exploit I suppose.
    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      It's an emergency as these phones make the 4S look quite out of date. The features these phones 'infringe' on are also on most other Android phones, but I don't see them blocking the cheap ones.

      • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @05:58AM (#40525659)

        Even when the cheap ones are functionally identical to the high end ones [gsmarena.com].

        Seriously... that phone right there, and the fact that Apple has never sued over it, makes it quite obvious that this has nothing to do with them trying to protect their intellectual property. It is functionally identical to the Galaxy SII that they threw a shitfit over and it came out a month before the SII... the front face and UI have the same basic design: the only real differences are that it's slightly thicker, it has a slightly slower processor, and the screen is a lower resolution and slightly smaller. The software at launch time was nearly identical (and *was* identical on the points Apple sued over).

        If this was *really* about their software patents, they would have sued over that one, too, but since you can get an Ace for $100 new without a contract ($225 at launch time), they didn't sue.

        btw -- if you don't do any gaming on your phone, that phone is quite adequate. The UI is zippy enough, has the same hardware-accelerated bling from a higher end phone, and you can buy it without a contract and not break the bank. I have one, and I am happy with it. There's no ICS update for it, but Gingerbread supports all the features I want out of a phone. :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Viol8 (599362)

        "It's an emergency as these phones make the 4S look quite out of date."

        The apple fanbois wouldn't care - they'd buy a week old turd if it had an apple logo stamped on it.

    • by c (8461) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @05:54AM (#40525645)

      > Perhaps the court should ban the plaintiffs competing product for 6-12
      > months when an allegation is found to be false...

      I take these kinds of shenanigans as an admission that they don't have a product that they think can compete.

      • by Rogerborg (306625)
        Bingo, the "punishment" for shouting fire in a crowded marketplace should simply be "recompense the State (i.e. the public) for trying to trick it into acting as your enforcer, and then we'll let the market decide."
  • When will it end? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @04:28AM (#40525275)

    "The patent covers a system to detect telephone numbers in e-mails so, when the number on the screen is tapped, they can be stored in directories or called without dialing."

    • Other patents Apple has used in litigation include the use of a slide gesture to unlock a phone and a patent on curved corners.
    • by mirix (1649853)

      Ignoring the obviousness of this... Nokia phones have done that before 'iPhone' was a word. ughh.

    • Cool, you can now patent Regular Expressions? I need to get that one to detect words in E-Mails to that Patent Office ASAP.
  • by Xenx (2211586) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @04:32AM (#40525299)
    I can understand legitimate complaints about patent infringement. I can even almost understand some of the complaints Apple puts forth against Android devices. While I don't necessarily feel they should be winning the cases, I feel that they're at least operating within the system. My issue is with situations like this, where they're pressing for bans when the situation isn't even decided yet. They're just pressing to hurt the competitors as much as possible without actually having to prove foul play.
    • by gnasher719 (869701) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @05:05AM (#40525457)

      I can understand legitimate complaints about patent infringement. I can even almost understand some of the complaints Apple puts forth against Android devices. While I don't necessarily feel they should be winning the cases, I feel that they're at least operating within the system. My issue is with situations like this, where they're pressing for bans when the situation isn't even decided yet. They're just pressing to hurt the competitors as much as possible without actually having to prove foul play.

      Pressing for bans is what everybody else does as well. Like Samsung, HTC, Motorola.

      I steal your car. Should I be allowed to drive it until I am convicted in a court? That would obviously be unfair towards you. But for example in the Apple vs. Samsung case, Apple got an injunction but if they lost the case in the end, they would have to pay damages. And they had to pay a bond so that it is guaranteed that the money for paying damages is there if needed.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I say you stole my car. should you be allowed to drive the car I say is mine and you stole it until I prove myself right?
        That's closer to what this is about.

        • by blackest_k (761565) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @06:38AM (#40525845) Homepage Journal

          Actually been in a situation where a guitar of mine was stolen in a burglary. I spotted my guitar in a second hand shop and was able to prove it was mine.

          But then hit a snag, the owner of the shop was able to say he bought the guitar in good faith, thus to get my guitar back i could compensate him by paying him for my own guitar or go to court and eventually get a judge to order him to return it to me. He wasn't allowed to sell it in the mean time so my stubbornness refusing to pay for my own guitar meant we both were out of pocket for a while.

          In the end the same people who sold him the guitar tried to sell him something else at which time he called the police and they were arrested some stolen property was recovered and the shop keeper gave me my guitar back with the hope of getting some compensation from the court for catching the thieves.

          I have to wonder if things would have played the way they did if I had caved and paid to get my guitar back.

      • My car : I can prove I own it, and you don't, so no you can't drive it ... Wether it was you who stole it is a matter for the courts ...

        But this is a physical object, this is a patent, and with all Patents and Copyright cases it is open to interpretation if anyone has even committed a crime or not, this is effectively Apple saying that Samsung have stolen from them, and Samsung saying no we haven't .... and there is little or no proof on either side

    • A lot of the patents are also so trivial or obvious as to be ridiculous now, too. As the article states, "The patent covers a system to detect telephone numbers in e-mails so, when the number on the screen is tapped, they can be stored in directories or called without dialing."
  • Smuggling phones!

    It will be like Prohibition, revisited. Rich folks will have the best phones at parties, like they used to have the best booze during Prohibition.

    Will Elliot Ness triumph over Al Capone this time . . . ?

  • Antitrust Anyone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zippo01 (688802) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @04:35AM (#40525313)
    Am I the only one that wonders why no one is screaming antitrust? I guess Apple feels safe having the USPO fight their battles. I can see this ending badly for Apple down the road if they keep it up.
    • Re:Antitrust Anyone (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bky1701 (979071) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @04:54AM (#40525395) Homepage
      There are quite a few Apple dollars bouncing around Washington DC, even more since they became best of friends with the RIAA and MPAA. I wouldn't hold my breath for the government to save us from Apple any time soon.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Well my dollars sure won't be bouncing around on Apple. Not only don't I buy anything from them, but even if in the future they were the only company selling computer devices left on the world, I'd actually just give up on computers.

      • Some real facts would've been nice, rather than a baseless implication.

        Google spent over $5 million in lobbying in Q1 2012 alone. Microsoft spent $1.72M, Facebook $0.65M [theverge.com].

        Where is Apple? They spent a mere $0.5M, one-tenth what Google did. Dell, Intel, Amazon, Oracle, IBM, HP all outspent Apple. And unlike Facebook, Google and Microsoft, Apple has no political action committee.

        It's true that Google lobbied for some worthwhile things [blogspot.ca] like campaigning against SOPA, but if the amount of lobbying dollars are the

    • Re:Antitrust Anyone (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gl4ss (559668) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @05:22AM (#40525535) Homepage Journal

      ..but ms+apple have covered their bases this time, can't accuse them of antitrust. MS,Apple and Nokia have thrown their dealings together, but the arrangements on licensing - and who sues who - are closed from the public(even if they're all publicly owned corporations, funny that).

      you see, this way MS doesn't sue their licensees for their other phones(that would be bordering on a no-no).
      this way Apple doesn't sue MS licensed products.
      this way Nokia+MS don't sue Apple. so effectively they're acting as one party, "by purely consequence".

      It's not a trust, it's just "licensing arrangements"(and backroom deals and handshakes, which again are not made public).

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        forgot to add that while they're not suing each other they're also suing everyone else, but avoiding suing companies they can't sue directly due to politics.

    • Am I the only one that wonders why no one is screaming antitrust?

      I would imagine you're not alone but you're mistaken. Antitrust would be largely inappropriate. Apple is neither a cartel nor a member of a cartel nor are they in a (near) monopoly position and thus are not in danger of an antitrust investigation.

      Apple is simply enforcing their right to defend their patents. Now, you may hate them for doing that; you may hate them for how they're doing it (going "thermonuclear"); you may hate that the patent system allows this; you may hate that they earned patents on thing

  • I'll only spend money on a smartphone made by a company that does not litigate frivolously.

    (Not holding my breath on this one.)

  • Dear manufacturers: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pla (258480) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @05:46AM (#40525623) Journal
    Try building your crap in the US. It takes a hell of a lot more effort (and actual evidence presented in a real live US court as opposed to a shadowy meeting with a "committee" of one guy) to have a domestically produced product impounded, than to convince the largely unregulated and capricious CBP to impound something ill-defined.

    Domestic fireworks: Okay. Foreign candies with toys inside: Banned.
    Domestic hardcore humiliation porn: Okay. Foreign Playboys: Banned.
    Domestic overpriced mislabeled antidepressants marketed at kids: Okay. Foreign 100% legit heart meds for 1/10th the price: Banned.

    I don't consider myself a bit "HuAH, Made in America" fan, but hey, nice to have someone employed capable of buying your crappy phones, eh?
  • by wisebabo (638845) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @06:17AM (#40525743) Journal

    now claim that Apple's patents are invalid or that they do not infringe them.

    In Samsung's appeal against Apple's injunction against the Galaxy tablet: "Apple failed to provide sufficient evidence that the Galaxy Nexus caused "irreparable harm" in the form of market share lost to Samsung. The filing also suggests that such market share losses "must be substantial" and directly caused by the infringing feature, rather than the product as a whole."

    So Samsung does not argue that the patents are invalid or that it violated them but rather that it doesn't hurt Apple too much.

    "HTC believes that Apple's claims exceed the bounds of the original complaint. The statement by the ITC is seemingly not a denial of Apple for lack of propriety, but more a lack of information."

    So HTC believes that Apple is overreaching when it says that HTC has not re-engineered it's products enough to avoid Apple's patent. It does not deny the fact that it violated Apple's patent.

    It appears that Apple has a winning case when it comes to patents when they are no longer being challenged.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In legal matters it is quite common to separate a complex issue into parts, and argue them separately. E.g. "my client didn't break your window, but even if he did such a window costs only $X to repair, not the $Y you filed for". That is all that is going on here.

    • by jrumney (197329) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @10:17AM (#40528323) Homepage

      So Samsung does not argue that the patents are invalid or that it violated them but rather that it doesn't hurt Apple too much.

      Because whether or not the patents are valid and being infringed by Samsung is already before the court, and not yet decided. The injunction against importation of Samsung's devices was ruled on that basis, so arguing one way or the other on that topic will not make any difference to the judge's decision.

  • The best product should win by virtue of being the best product, not because it's killed all the other competition. I don't use a Samsung phone because it stole all sorts of technology from Apple, I use a Samsung phone because I like it better than the Apple alternatives. I wasn't all, "Oooh this has Apple's curved corners and it can detect a phone number in my email!" No, I went "Oooh, this has a slide out keyboard and it's on sale for $300!"
  • ...until Apple tries to sue Google over its upcoming tablets / smartphones. Google will hand Apple it's own ass on a plate, and blast them back to 1995.

    The day Google begins to aggressively 'defend' Android will be a very glorious day...

    I can't wait!

  • 1984 (Score:5, Funny)

    by LodCrappo (705968) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @10:10AM (#40528213) Homepage

    When Apple famously claimed that "1984 won't be like '1984'", everyone assumed it was because they didn't want an Orwellian situation in the computer industry.
    As it turns out, Apple is totally into the idea. They just hadn't perfected the technology back then.

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