Apple’s Bid for Emergency Ban on HTC Android Phones Bounced
After a week of back-to-back courtroom victories against Samsung, culminating in the upholding of an injunction against U.S. sales of that company’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, Apple has finally been handed a legal defeat, but it’s a minor one.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has refused to grant Apple’s request for an emergency ban on pretty much any HTC smartphone and tablet running Google’s Android operating system. Apple requested that ban in early June, alleging that 29 HTC smartphones infringe its ’647 “data tapping” patent, and arguing that their continued importation into the U.S. will cause Apple substantial harm. But, evidently, the ITC feels that it doesn’t have the necessary information to make that call.
“The commission finds that Apple has not demonstrated the propriety of temporary emergency action here,” the ITC wrote in its denial of Apple’s request. “The commission will not direct Customs to detain all subject HTC products because the commission does not have the information necessary to determine whether the respondents are currently violating the commission’s limited exclusion order.”
So Apple gets no immediate relief on this front. What it does get, however, is an official ITC investigation into its claim that HTC has been flouting an import ban on these devices by telling customs officials that they have been redesigned to avoid infringement of Apple’s IP.
If that claim pans out, and HTC is found to be in violation of the ITC’s order, it will have to remove from its handsets features based on Apple’s IP, or design around it — no easy task when you’re talking about a portfolio of 29 smartphones and a new custom build of Android that has to be vetted by Google.