Apple’s Patent Victory Against HTC Could Cripple Every Android Phone Out There

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On Friday, the U.S. International Trade Commission agreed with Apple and found that HTC’s smartphones infringed upon at least two patents.

The wound Apple has dealt HTC is not just a minor scratch, though. It’s a big victory, and it goes beyond just HTC. Apple may have just plunged its patent dagger right into Android’s achilles heel.

According to FOSS Patents, Apple’s victory against HTC in front of the ITC means that a number of — maybe all! — Android handsets could be barred from sale starting in December.

Why? Apparently, the two infringed patents cover an integral part of the Android architecture, rather than modifications made by HTC.

This means that for HTC — and any other Android licensee — to avoid either paying up to Apple or being sued, Google would need to make “fundamental changes to the Android architecture.”

The final ITC decision won’t be made until December, but Google and Android handset makers have got to be nervous now.

My guess is they’d just choose to license the patent from Apple, but you’ve got to wonder: could there be a day when Android is as lucrative to Apple as it is for Microsoft, who already makes more money from Android license patenting than they do on their own Windows Phone 7 OS?