Apple has succeeded in its bid to secure a ban on the sale of some HTC handsets in the US starting next year, on the grounds of patent infringement by the Taiwanese smartphone maker. The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled that HTC is violating the ‘647 patent held by Apple – said to relate to data-detection technology by Bloomberg – and has issued a limited import exclusion order which comes into force on 19 April 2012.
Following several delays in the decision, an ITC notice said HTC has violated section 337 of the Tariff Act, “by reason of the importation and sale of articles” that infringe the patent and has issued “a limited exclusion order prohibiting importation of infringing personal data and mobile communications devices and related software.” However, the ITC found HTC did not infringe three other patents Apple included in its original complaint.
An HTC statement described the decision as a "win for HTC" as the ruling found that three of the patents were not infringed. It added thar the '647 patent is a "small UI experience" and that HTC will "completely remove it from all of our phones soon." The list of devices to be banned and the full reasoning for the import ban weren’t made public but Apple’s complaint – first lodged in April 2011 – named HTC’s Nexus One, Touch Pro, Diamond, Tilt II, Dream, myTouch, Hero and Droid Eris, according to Bloomberg.
The late Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs claimed Android “ripped off" the iPhone and the company has been aiming to slow the growth of Android through a number of patent cases. The company has another case with HTC pending, as well as several with Samsung and Motorola Mobility.
HTC recently cut its revenue forecast by 20 percent compared to its original fourth-quarter outlook due to economic conditions. Meanwhile, a separate ITC decision found that Apple did not violate any patents held by graphics technology company, S3 Graphics, placing a question mark over the value HTC could get from acquiring the company.