We reported last night that, due to an ITC order on an Apple patent infringement claim, at least some of HTC's One X and EVO 4G LTE smartphones had been halted at shipping ports by US Customs.

The implications of this for the EVO 4G LTE just got worse, as Sprint has been forced to concede that the planned May 18th launch will have to be delayed until the customs investigation is completed. Here's Sprint's full statement:

  • HTC EVO 4G LTE availability

The U.S. availability of the HTC EVO 4G LTE has been delayed.  HTC is working to resolve this issue and appreciates your patience as they work to get products into Sprint channels. We can’t provide specific timing for product availability at this time and we appreciate your patience as HTC works to get products on store shelves as soon as possible.

  • Pre-order status/availability

Delivery of products for pre-order are on hold and Sprint will provide a ship date as soon as possible. Sprint will maintain the promise for the preorder customers that they will be among the first to receive their HTC EVO 4G LTE units.

For those customers who pre-ordered the EVO 4G LTE, Sprint is allowing a no-penalty cancellation of any order. Here are the instructions:

If you would like to select an alternate product or cancel your backordered item, please call 866-789-8292 between 8:00 a.m. EST to 11:00 p.m. EST Monday to Friday or 9:00 a.m. EST to 9:00 p.m. EST on Saturdays and Sundays.Please note that cancellation requests may not always process successfully due to the speed of warehouse processing.If you cancelled your backordered item but still received a shipment, please refuse the shipment or call us to process a return within 14 days of receipt.

The length of the delay is entirely unknown. It could be days - it could be weeks. We do know that it's very unlikely HTC's One X and EVO 4G LTE violate Apple's patent claims, so the process of releasing those shipments should be relatively speedy (for US Customs). But when it comes to "expediting" anything, I think we can all agree that the federal government rarely finds it necessary to speak in terms of days.

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