This is the first of a few update stories we have for you today. Previously, we reported that a big court case between Apple and HTC would be decided near the end of this month that could dramatically affect the entire Android ecosystem. Unluckily, the International Trade Commission ruled in favor of Apple, and has banned the importing of HTC devices that infringe Apple’s patents. Luckily, the ultimate consequences turned out to be not nearly as dire as was possible.
First, the ITC banned the import and sale of HTC devices running the Android 1.6 and 2.2 OS. It was within these devices that Apple’s patent ’647 was being infringed upon. Supposedly, this still leaves a window for Apple to crawl through in which they could go after other manufacturers of Android products.
Ironically, the victory for Apple at the ITC will probably turn out to be a non-issue as HTC has issued a couple of statements indicating that they have already developed a workaround. This indicates that Google could also develop a workaround as well, and then share it with any other manufacturer so that Apple won’t be able to go after anyone else. Here are some statements from HTC regarding the issue,
We are gratified that the commission affirmed the judge’s determination on the ‘721 and ‘983 patents, and reversed its decision on the ‘263 patent and partially on the ‘647 patent. While disappointed that a finding of violation was still found on two claims of the ‘647 patent, we are well prepared for this decision, and our designers have created alternate solutions for the ‘647 patent.
They further elaborated in a separate statement,
“We are very pleased with the determination and we respect it. However, the ‘647 patent is a small UI experience and HTC will completely remove it from all of our phones soon.”
Apple’s retort was, “We think competition is healthy but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.” This is a truly hypocritical statement, and I must give props to the guys at DroidMatters for adding the following video to their article on this subject, shown below.