The U.S. International Trade Commission handed down a ruling Monday that certain features of HTC’s Android phones infringe upon a patent owned by Apple. The order would prevent HTC from importing infringing handsets beginning in April 2012, but HTC has said it will simply remove the related features rather than lose business. Apple has won several patent cases abroad, but this marks its first high-profile score in the US.
The infringement has been narrowed down to two claims revolving around “data tapping”, refering to the ability to tap on a phone number, address, or date in an email or webpage and then be able to make a phone call, map an address, make a calendar appointment, etc.
Clearly a small part of the mobile experience, but a W is a W, I guess.
Of course, Apple, via a spokeswoman quoted by Jessica E. Vascellaro in the Wall Street Journal, was pretty hard-nosed in response to the win: “competitors should create their own original techology, not steal ours.”
(Hope no one from Xerox PARC was reading that.)
Whether this or continuing claims will cause functionality roll-backs among all Android devices is unclear. In an ideal world, this will spark innovation to find new ways of doing similar things. In reality, it will more likely result in settlements with Apple by the infringing companies.
So maybe someone will profit directly from Android after all.
Source: Wall Street Journal