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Apple Wins Injunction Banning Import of HTC Devices 314

Newly accepted submitter squish18 writes "All Things D reports that Apple has won an injunction banning the import of some HTC phones starting in April 2012. The ruling by the ITC stems from two claims of the '647 patent concerning software used to enter personal data in mobile devices. It is interesting to note that the ITC has also reversed previous rulings regarding regarding infringement of two other '647 claims, as well as patent '263 claims." It looks like Apple's victory is relatively minor. They lost claims on all patents except for one, and HTC/Google can work on implementing similar functionality in a non-infringing way.
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Apple Wins Injunction Banning Import of HTC Devices

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  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Monday December 19, 2011 @08:14PM (#38428594)

    From TFA:

    So what Apple has won is a formal import ban scheduled to commence on April 19, 2012, but relating only to HTC Android phones implementing one of two claims of a "data tapping patent": a patent on an invention that marks up phone numbers and other types of formatted data in an unstructured document, such as an email, in order to enable users to bring up other programs (such as a dialer app) that process such data.

    So the non-frivolous claim on which Apple actually prevailed was essentially a regex to find things that look like phone numbers in unstructured text documents, which then link to a dialer app?

  • More details (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19, 2011 @08:15PM (#38428602)

  • by StealthHunter ( 597677 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @08:24PM (#38428690)
    HTC gave Android Central the following statement (updated 6:20 EST): We are gratified that the Commission affirmed the judge’s initial determination on the ‘721 and ‘983 patents, and reversed its decision on the ‘263 patent and partially on the ‘647 patent. We are very pleased with the determination and we respect it. However, the ‘647 patent is a small UI experience and HTC will completely remove it from all of our phones soon.
  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @09:06PM (#38428980) Homepage Journal

    Maybe you didn't read the date on the patent. It was filed in 1996 and granted in 1999. This patent isn't an iPhone patent. It's a Newton patent.

    More to the point, the patent application was filed before Google, HTC, or Zimbra were even founded—back in the day when Palm was just starting to take off. You're going to have to look a lot farther back than the Zimlet for prior art.

  • Re:Evil Monopoly (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anthony Mouse ( 1927662 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @09:58PM (#38429348)

    Sun and Netscape sued Microsoft for antitrust violations. Oracle and Apple have sued over software patents. And Apple pretty much just sues everybody in the phone book, so that isn't really a bellwether of anything.

  • Re:Evil Monopoly (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anthony Mouse ( 1927662 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @10:49PM (#38429664)

    If you know anything about game theory you know that the optimal strategy depends on the behavior of the other participants. For example, if there is one company that is offering a high quality product for a low price, competitors must do the same thing or no one will buy from them. However, there is a technique called "conscious parallelism" that allows companies to screw over their customers in concert with each other without actually having any formal agreement (which would violate the antitrust laws), and it works like this: One company raises their prices, or imposes some new restriction, or offers a shorter warranty, etc. As soon as they announce this, every other company in the industry does the same thing, with the expectation that as long as they all do it, customers will have no choice but to go along with it. Then all the companies benefit and all the customers are screwed.

    This doesn't work if any one of the companies decides that they would rather compete on the merits by offering a quality product for a low price, because naturally all of the other companies that don't want to compete on the merits will lose customers to them (which is why company that doesn't join the implicit cartel wants to do it). This is why you see everybody trying to fight Google: They're offering decent products basically for free, which screws up the whole cartel dynamic, so they have to be "punished" by all the people who want to use conscious parallelism to line their pockets rather than working hard to earn honest money.

    I mean look at what they've done to the whole curated computing scheme: If your only choice was between Apple's app store and Microsoft's, and you could only make that choice once every two years when you get a new device, and they both used all the same terms as one another and slowly made them more onerous... think about all the money those two would be able to extract from customers and software developers once they had them by the short hairs like that. But Google is upsetting the Apple cart, so to speak, because allowing developers to reach users outside of the "official" channels means that the different app stores have to compete with one another on the merits. Apple can't start ratcheting up their own margins because if they do then more users and developers will go to Android, where there are several markets and Apple can't expect everyone to follow their lead on pricing. Hence the litigation.

    So I guess what I'm saying is, companies don't inherently have to screw over their customers, but if they choose to buck the trend then they can capture a majority market share... at the cost of having to deal with a bunch of sore losers flinging lawsuits at them.

  • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @11:46PM (#38430148)

    Did you actually read the article you linked to?

    Apple has accused HTC of patent infringement through its smartphones, and filed several patent lawsuits against the Taiwan-based company in Delaware in the last two years.

    So Apple sued HTC and two years later HTC sued Apple, and HTC are the bad guy?

  • Re:Evil Monopoly (Score:5, Informative)

    by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @11:51PM (#38430176) Journal

    Considering what Microsoft was trying to do to Java.. Nothing that Apple or Oracle do can even come close in terms of total evilness (not to diminish their actions, they're just dwarfed in comparison). The truly horrifying thing is that Microsoft basically got away with it scott free.

  • by dell623 ( 2021586 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @01:30AM (#38430824)

    HTC ONLY sued Apple in retaliation, Apple were the first to go after every Android manufacturer claiming Android copied their 'inventions'. Apple have never denied that and are completely unapologetic about the fact that they started the war. HTC are NOT doing the same thing. If they were doing the same thing as Apple, HTC would be launching lawsuits against other Android manufacturers like Samsung based on the same patents they are trying to use defensively against Apple, and even against other companies like Nokia, RIM etc.

  • Re:Evil Monopoly (Score:4, Informative)

    by TennCasey ( 1667347 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @02:11AM (#38431082)
    They made their own version that was incompatible with Sun's that was intended to eventually be built into Windows to effectively wrestle the control of Java away from them.
  • Re:Evil Monopoly (Score:5, Informative)

    by moronoxyd ( 1000371 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:27AM (#38431794)

    So Apple is the bad guy for saying that Andriod needs to recognize the existing laws and patents granted.

    No, Apple is the bad guy for expecting everybody to respect Apples patents, but being not willing to do the same for others.
    The case Motorola agains Apple in Germany is about Apple not being willing to pay for infringing on Motorolas patents for several years!
    It is NOT about Motorolo not being willing to grant Apple a FRAND licence (they are more than willing), bot about Apple not being willing to pay for past infringment of these patents.

    What do you call somebody who is not willing tho stick to the rules he expects others to follow?
    The word 'hypocrit' comes to mind.

  • Re:Evil Monopoly (Score:3, Informative)

    by moronoxyd ( 1000371 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @05:02AM (#38431946)

    HTC, Samsung, Motorola have all used denied Apple licensing for their GSM and related standards based patents they are obligated to under FRAND terms.

    I call BS.

    Motorola IS willing to grant Apple FRAND licences.
    But Apple wants to get jack free for past use of these patents, and Motorola says (rightfully so!) 'no'.

  • Re:Evil Monopoly (Score:5, Informative)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <> on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @09:24AM (#38433318) Homepage Journal

    Apple did NOT invent the MP3 plaer.

    In fact they didn't invent the iPod's two main "innovations", the scroll wheel (Synaptics) and the 1.8" HDD (Toshiba).

    Apple dit NOT invent the smartphone.

    Nor did they invent Siri or the A4/A5 CPUs, they just bought the companies that made them.

    Design of iAnything?

    Braun should sue. []

    Apple doesn't innovate technologically very much, they just buy ideas and figure out how to market them as lifestyle accessories.

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright