The blogosphere is currently aflutter with talk of the ITC (International Trade Commission) patent infringement decision in favor of Apple, and the resulting court order banning the import of infringing HTC devices starting April 19, 2012 (4 months from now). The ITC ruled that HTC infringed on two, relatively narrow claims in a patent related to "data tapping" that occurs at the system level in Android.

You know how your phone can automatically "see" an address or phone number on a web page or e-mail and send you to the appropriate app? That's what the ITC claims HTC, and by relation Android, is infringing on. However, it's not the concept of data tapping, it's merely a technical method by which the function is performed. Translation: HTC (or Google) need to code around it and utilize a different method. And HTC already has:

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.

Basically, this victory is little more than symbolic for Apple, and won't in any way affect US consumer access to HTC smartphones. That's really all you need to know.

TheVerge, FOSSPatents

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • http://genesischess.com/ Micah

    ...there's still the fact that we need a major patent system rework...

  • Kodakball

    I totally agree, I hate how our laws are reactive, not proactive.

    • Un-hyper

      Proactive laws mean you have to hang people before they committ the crime. A good idea, you think?

      • http://verb0ze.net verboze

        ^^ LOL'ed at that. Why not, worked well in minority report :}

  • hldc1

    HTC's shipping a lot of Android 1.6-2.2 devices now, right? [SARCASM] Too funny. You are right. This actually doesn't impact HTC at all.

  • htc rezound

    Apple just needs to die and go away. The only thing Apple is mad at is the fact that Android is out selling them and Apple can't compete. So this victory is really not a victory, its HTC and Google laughing at Apple, I mean crapple.

    • TeeJay

      Are you like 2? Why do care - you have your phone and your mom pays your monthly bills. Let the courts decide - unless you are a patent expert too?

    • AaronZ

      AMEN!! Apple has overstepped its bounds on what it is doing.

  • Dei

    Now now, legal battles aside, Apple is a successful company, and there's no denying that the iPhone revolutionized the mobile industry. No single Android phone can claim the success of the iPhone. However, Android phones as a collective are seriously taking a bite of the Apple, and yes, they're fighting it.
    It's hard to stay at the top of the mountain when you are being assailed from all sides.

    • Itachi903

      Android as a whole surpassed the Iphone long ago. and Apple can stand at the top of the mountain for as long as you want them to, but they will now and forever be looking UP at Google. Open your eyes!!!

    • Jon Garrett

      "No single Android phone can claim the success of the iPhone"?

      That's unimportant for a number of reasons.

      1. how does that benefit you?

      2. Apple is the only company making iOS phones and there is only one to choose from. If all the Android manufacturers made a single phone, that phone would outsell the iPhone.

      3. Android phones offer something for everyone, not everybody wants the iPhone and not everybody wants or likes the same kind of phone. Android offers choice, iOS does not.

      please try to remember that apple owes ALL of its success to other companies (from Microsoft who kept apple from going under, to Nokia & Motorola and Ericsson and their wireless innovations that made smart phones a reality) and all the devices that came before apple who did nothing really but build on already existing ideas and technologies.

      • TeeJay

        If there was no case for infringement, Apple would not have won this, however small. If not for the iPhone, you would still be excited about the next Blackberry phone coming out. Really.

        • Red

          Doubt it, we would just be comparing everything to the lg prada. Capacitive screens were coming with or without Apple. They just marketed the hell out of the iphone.

  • ?

    I am pretty much the only person I know with an android phone, everybody at work and college has an iphone pretty much.

    • Phil

      Wow, awesome contribution.

      This is really boiling down to two kids on the playground poking sticks at each other, so ridiculous.

    • Topgun

      I don't think I have seen an iPhone in months...and I work at a 80k plus enterprise environment

  • cosmic

    If 2.3+ really is clear of the patent then I'm slightly torn on the issue...

    On one hand this is an obviously bogus patent that should be set on fire.

    On the other hand it could force manufacturers to either update or stop selling phones that are 2.2-.

  • Wam31

    Humm... I kinda remember Skype being able to "linkify" phone numbers on web
    pages like... 8 years ago, at least.