US Customs has halted at least some shipments of the HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE (presumably at the Port of Los Angeles), as a result of an earlier ITC order won by Apple over a patent lawsuit for "data tapping" (context-sensitive text-based actions) in the browser and messaging apps on some HTC phones.

These features, HTC contends, have been removed from the One X and EVO 4G LTE, and HTC is "confident" that it is in compliance with the ruling:

The US availability of the HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE has been delayed due to a standard U.S. Customs review of shipments that is required after an ITC exclusion order. We believe we are in compliance with the ruling and HTC is working closely with Customs to secure approval. The HTC One X and HTC Evo 4G LTE have been received enthusiastically by customers and we appreciate their patience as we work to get these products into their hands as soon as possible.

The ITC order was broad, allowing US Customs to seize any HTC handset imported into the US on suspicion that it may violate Apple's asserted intellectual property rights. More likely than not, this is just some overly zealous US Customs big-wig showing his authoritay over those 'garsh dern foreign electronics stealing ideas from hard-working Americans. Seriously, they don't actually need a real reason to halt the shipments under the ITC's exclusion order, because it's that broad, and the actual decisions when and where to halt them happen completely behind closed doors, and are never made public. There is literally no oversight on this process, and that's scary enough.

TheVerge contacted a number of AT&T stores that were sold out of One X's, and AT&T's website shows it out of stock. Additionally, SG4RU earlier let out news that EVO 4G LTE pre-order shipments had been delayed.

Apple has to be reveling in this snafu, but it seems eminently likely that the delay here will be a short one. While HTC will almost certainly file for a stay of the ban at the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, the customs investigation may end well-before such a stay is necessary. Let's hope the delay doesn't affect things too badly - Sprint has to be sweating bullets, and I doubt AT&T is very happy, either.