Apple v HTC: ITC Boycotts Importation of HTC Android Devices

My thanks to Lucas Hjelle for the following post:

More than 20 months after Apple filed a complaint against HTC, the U.S. International Trade Commission has concluded its investigation by issuing a boycott of certain HTC Android devices.

Though Apple’s original complaint alleged infringement of several patents, ITC’s decision affects only HTC devices that infringe claims 1 and 8 of Patent 5,946,647:

1. A computer-based system for detecting structures in data and performing actions on detected structures, comprising:

an input device for receiving data;

an output device for presenting the data;

a memory storing information including program routines including

an analyzer server for detecting structures in the data, and for linking actions to the detected structures;

a user interface enabling the selection of a detected structure and a linked action; and

an action processor for performing the selected action linked to the selected structure; and

a processing unit coupled to the input device, the output device, and the memory for controlling the execution of the program routines.

8. The system recited in claim 1, wherein the user interface highlights detected structures.

 

The application of highlighting detected structures is made clear by Figure 7 within the ‘647 patent:

 

Interpreted broadly, this claim may affect any service that highlights phone numbers, e-mail addresses, or physical addresses.  However, the ITC ruling indicated the boycott is not precluded by public interest factors within 19 U.S.C. §1337(d), which requires consideration of “the effect of such exclusion upon the public health and welfare, competitive conditions in the United States economy, the production of like or directly competitive articles in the United States, and United States consumers . . . .”

The ITC decision also noted that Apple had previously sued Nokia for several of the same patents.  However, before the ITC could rule on infringement, Apple and Nokia entered into an undisclosed settlement.  HTC’s stock price suggests it may also be ripe for settlement negotiations: following the decision, HTC has been trading around 500 TWD, down from its high of 1300 TWD on April 28, 2011.

The importation boycott is scheduled to commence on April 19, 2012, though HTC can import refurbished devices for warranty replacements until December 19, 2013.

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