In December of 2011 the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in favor of Apple for placing a ban on the U.S. import of multiple HTC smartphones. It was the first major exclusion ban of its kind, and it all hinged on one Apple patent.
The HTC import ban went into effect on April 19, 2012, and the delay was meant to give HTC time to re-engineer around the infringing issues. HTC said it was going to have everything cleared and ready to go in time, but U.S. Customs has now halted the One X and Evo 4G LTE from crossing the border.
HTC’s statement on the news:
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.
According to The Verge, Apple’s patent that caused this whole stir “covers automatically converting things like phone numbers and email addresses into actionable links that open a menu of options.” Sounds pretty vague.
The Verge gives some more details:
Customs and Border Protection is in charge of executing the order, and it’s allowed to handle things pretty much any way it wants; there are really no formal rules governing how exclusion orders are interpreted or enforced. What’s more, the final enforcement instructions delivered by Customs to its officers are totally classified — they’re even excluded from Freedom of Information Act requests. At this point HTC is basically in limbo while it waits for Customs to issue a decision.
Sounds like a sticky situation. Apple doesn’t play around with its patents.
- Source The Verge