ITC denies Apple’s request for emergency import ban on 29 HTC devices

By , Jul 3, 2012

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) denied Apple’s emergency request to temporary detain all shipments of 29 different HTC devices at the U.S. border, including the EVO 4G LTE and the flagship One X smartphone, Bloomberg reports. Apple last week demanded an emergency import ban of HTC phones, arguing the Taiwanese vendor lied to Customs in order to free up shipments…

The ITC obviously wasn’t impressed, though this isn’t a setback for Apple.

As the trade agency continues investigating Apple’s enforcement complaint against HTC, Apple’s legal sharks simply need to be patient, explains patent expert Florian Müeller.

The denial of temporary emergency action is great news for HTC, but doesn’t represent a setback to Apple. Apple was being ambitious and aggressive by pushing for an immediate ban. But I’m sure Apple and its lawyers knew that this was not going to be easy.

I wouldn’t call it a long shot: given that HTC did not ask the ITC for an advisory opinion (it didn’t have to, but it should have), the ITC might have taught HTC and everyone else a lesson by being more willing than otherwise to grant emergency relief.

Apple spoiled HTC’s and Sprint’s launch plan for the One X smartphone when shipments were delayed at the Customs in May over an import ban order handed down by the ITC last year.

At question was Apple’s patent for a software feature that automatically detects phone numbers and email messages in text, enabling users to tap on these to automatically call a person or send an email message.

The Taiwanese manufacturer had successfully created a workaround solution so the customs eventually released the shipments. The search giant Google sided with HTC in its legal woes with Apple from the onset.

Yesterday, Samsung also confirmed it is now working with Google to create a strong opposition to Apple in an effort to force Cupertino into signing a licensing deal with them.

Cupertino has made more headway recently with its thermonuclear war on Android.

Just yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh rejected Samsung’s motion to stay the Galaxy Tab ban. Because Apple has already posted a $2.6 million bond to push the ban into effect, the decision means Samsung must stop selling its marquee tablet in the country.

Apple was also granted a preliminary injunction against Google-designed Galaxy Nexus smartphone. Samsung sought stay of order on sales ban and a judge is set to rule on this later today.

All told, Apple has already won court rulings that found Android devices to infringe seven of its technical and two of its design patents. Apple has used a bunch different patents to chase Android vendors and Google’s software has been found to be guilty of infringing upon eleven of them.

What do you think, should Apple pursue litigation and is Android really a stolen product, as Jobs allegedly put it?

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  • http://twitter.com/Dongiuj DonGiuj

    Patent!

    • Sina

      Patent what ?

      • http://twitter.com/Dongiuj DonGiuj

        I just felt like saying it. Thought it was a hip word to use these days cause it’s all i ever hear.
        Go on, you know you wanna shout it! Go outside and at the top of your voice shout “PATENT! YOU, OVER THERE! PATENT!” you might enjoy it.

      • Sina

        lol

  • http://twitter.com/greghesp Greg Hesp

    Patents should not be available on software unless to code and imagery is a direct copy. Its hinders creativity

  • http://www.facebook.com/salmanhmd Salman Hasan

    The way apple ruining his friendship with other cellphone vendors, I am afraid that it may put them in trouble in future. If Samsung, HTC and Google makes an alliance than it will be a strong opponent for Apple. Apple should consider that after Steve Jobs they are not in position to reinvent products as before.
    Getting aggressive to others success may damage their own reputation.

  • http://twitter.com/jeffreywky K.Y.

    US should be a very free market place isn’t it?

  • coejam

    I feel sorry for customers in America. They don’t have freedom to choose what they want.

    • Abe Naji

      We pretty much chose apple… Well the smart ones did.

      • Spike760

        The one’s who decide to pay more and have slower internet on their phone and less features did at least.

      • Abe Naji

        Excuse me? I was talking about phones .. You guys overseas pay 1000 dollars for cell phones so how smart does that make you.

      • http://www.facebook.com/sean.hearnden Sean Philip Hearnden

        Shut up.

      • Abe Naji

        Suck a dick?

      • http://www.facebook.com/sean.hearnden Sean Philip Hearnden

        Sure. I’d imagine it’s still better than reading your unintelligible crap posts.

      • Spike760

        Shit I don’t know how much you paid for your iPhone but my Galaxy S II was only $300 off contract. :P

      • Abe Naji

        I knew it… Bitter android user..if you don’t see the blatant copying patent infringement when you use your phone then I’m seriously wasting my time replying to you.

      • http://www.facebook.com/sean.hearnden Sean Philip Hearnden

        If anyone is bitter around here I’d imagine it’s you. But that’s what you get when you decided to go with a company like Apple.

      • Spike760

        I’m not bitter, I just feel bad that if you bought your phone out of contract you paid about $800 and only got 1/5 of the data speeds and features.
        Google Voice search has been an available feature in Android since 2009. Though Apple has pretty always had Voice Control, Siri was only implemented about a year ago and relies heavily on Google services.
        Apple is preventing technology innovation by taking all its competitors to court. It’s destroying a free market and creating a monopoly. If you don’t see that, then you’re blind. It’s not even about if you like Apple or Google anymore. It’s about having the choice to buy the product you want to buy; but that freedom is being taken away by us by Judge Lucy Koh.

      • http://www.youtube.com/Tr1pTr0p Tr1pTr0p

        Blatant? What is so blatant? The way Google implemented their version of notification center? You’re so right! Google sucks! (I’m being sarcastic, just fyi, since I know you’re a bit slow.)

      • zackb07

        My Droid Bionic was $299 on a 2 year contract! I’m officially moving.

  • Simon Reidy

    The whole thing is a joke. I don’t need to tell anyone how broken the patent system is. I mean why the hell are Apple allowed to patent such a basic “hyperlink stype” of feature in the first place?

    It was Steve Jobs himself that said “great artists steal” and we all know Apple steal just as much as the others (from other apps, OS’s and from the perfectly legal jailbreak community). Sure other companies are suing Apple too, but its about time these multi-billion dollar companies stopped acting like children, or that new legislation was introduced to stop them from doing so.

    Perhaps Apple don’t get this, but while they battle it out, spending millions of dollars trying to enforce bans on every competitor’s product under the sun, I find myself personally becoming more and more fed up with them. Its a company I want to look up to, not be embarrassed to own a product from. I want to see other products from other manufacturers out there competing with them! Not being taken off the shelf because they dared put a link in their text messages!

    Grow up Apple and spend your patent lawyer’s fees on innovating instead.

  • Abe Naji

    Of course they should.. That’s it… Of course they should .

  • http://newstechnica.com David Gerard

    Anyone who calls Florian Mueller a “patent expert” is believing Mr Mueller’s own hype. Check his track record.