New HTC Phones Stopped At Customs Due To Apple Patent Fight

from the why-we-can't-have-cool-things dept

In one of many Apple patent fights concerning smartphones, it went after Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC in both the courts and using the infamous ITC loophole that gives the company two separate cracks and blocking competition using the same patents. The ITC ruled in Apple’s favor late last year, issuing its customary injunction (the ITC can only issue injunctions blocking import, rather than any monetary award). HTC was given time to create a fix, but the injunction has apparently gone into effect, and it means that the newest HTC phones — eagerly awaited by some — are being held at the border by customs to make sure that allowing them into the country won’t violate the ITC injunction. It’s pretty sad that Apple doesn’t appear to think that it can actually compete on the merits in the marketplace, but rather has to resort to this sort of protectionism. Similar to Apple’s complaints against Samsung, I have to admit that all this has really done is increase my interest in both the HTC One X and the HTC Evo LTE. If a smartphone is so good that even Apple is scared to compete against it, well, that seems like a phone that might be worth having…

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Companies: apple, htc

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Comments on “New HTC Phones Stopped At Customs Due To Apple Patent Fight”

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44 Comments
Tim K (profile) says:

Also I believe it’s pretty clear that this is solely to block competition as they did not attempt to block the HTC One S, the smaller member of the One family, but with the same software, that is being sold on T-Mobile who doesn’t have an iPhone, but only on the two (though almost identical) phones that are supposed to be the most powerful phones on the market atm who are on Sprint and AT&T who both carry the iPhone. I pre-ordered the phone and was looking forward to getting it tomorrow, and this has not stopped me from wanting it, but rather made me want anything apple even less

Mr Big Content says:

See How Patents Promote Innovation

Holding back these HTC phones in Customs is a proven technique for encouraging free-market competition. By blocking HTC products from being forced down customers’ throats, they are given the choice of buying non-HTC alternatives, like Apple. This is good for consumers, because it will at least make them think about the alternatives before buying HTC. Imagine if everybody simply had to buy HTC–you couldn’t call that free-market competition, could you? The choice between Apple and Microsoft make for a much more competitive market than any others.

I only wish HTC products could be completely banned from our market. We need more competitors offering worthwhile alternatives. And also get rid of Samsung, while we’re at it.

Jeremy Lyman (profile) says:

Re:

Or more specifically, the way it LOOKS when you tap a number to call someone. The patent is on the design, not the functionality.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2399876,00.asp

I find this exceptionally stupid because customs is blocking the importation of physical goods to keep software out of the country. It’s like ICE searching laptops for digital contraband at the border. How long do you think it will take for someone to download the infringing interface from the internet?

Anonymous Coward says:

According to “the verge” found via Phandroid.com

http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/16/3024889/htc-one-x-evo-4g-lte-custom-android-build-apple-patent-linkify

HTC modified the code to work around this ridiculous patent.

By “work around” they mean that they eliminated the menu of choices and instead take you to the default program (dialer for phone #s, maps for addresses, browser for URL’s, etc). The defaults can be changed by the user, but its not perfect as there are many cases where you don’t want to use the default… such as if you run multiple browsers.

TimK (profile) says:

According to “the verge” found via Phandroid.com

http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/16/3024889/htc-one-x-evo-4g-lte-custom-android-build -apple-patent-linkify

HTC modified the code to work around this ridiculous patent.

By “work around” they mean that they eliminated the menu of choices and instead take you to the default program (dialer for phone #s, maps for addresses, browser for URL’s, etc). The defaults can be changed by the user, but its not perfect as there are many cases where you don’t want to use the default… such as if you run multiple browsers.

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