ITC on HTC: The Possible U.S. Ban on Android Phones


from The Mac ObserverTomorrow, the International Trade Commission will issue its decision regarding whether or not HTC infringed Apple’s patents in producing Android phones. Six months ago, an ITC administrative law judge ruled that HTC had in fact infringed Apple’s patents. The decision to come down this Wednesday, December 14, is in response to HTC’s appeal. The patents in question are U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647, a patent on a “system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data”, and U.S. Patent No. 6,343,263, a patent on a “real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data”. Essentially, these patents are at the core of the Android operating system, which means that HTC may not be the only manufacturer to be impacted by the ITC’s decision as they are not the only ones using the Android system.

According to a Fortune article regarding this decision, although HTC is the leading smart phone vendor in the U.S., it’s shares have dropped to it’s lowest level in 17 months in the Asian market in response to the impending ITC decision. The article reads:

In the worst case scenario for HTC, the trade commission could ban the import of its Android phones at the height of the holiday selling season, and its 25% U.S. smart phone market share could shrink to 0.0%.

HTC shares fell to their lowest level in 17 months in the Asian markets Monday on that fear.

The ITC can impose import bans but it can’t award monetary damages. If Apple wins this case, it could offer to license the technology to HTC or, more likely, sue HTC for damages in federal court.

The article also shares a summary of the patent issues by FOSS Patents‘ Florian Mueller. According to Mueller, “It’s hard to see how any Android device could not infringe [the patents], or how companies could work around them.” For Mueller’s summary of Apple’s two patents in question click here, and for his summary on just how the Android infringes Apple’s patents click here.

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