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HTC already testing new phones working around Apple patents

Posted: , by Victor H.

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HTC already testing new phones working around Apple patents
Recently, Apple won a key legal battle against HTC and banned imports and sales of a couple of HTC phones including the Sprint HTC EVO 4G, but the victory was bitter sweet - Cupertino only won over a single patent and today HTC said that it’s already testing new phones that work around that patented technology.

What does that legal victory mean, though? Apple won over a patent issued way back in 1999 that parses a string of digits into a phone number and turns it into a link you can tap on. The ruling is at the core of Android, so it could well be used against any other Android phone maker. The decision could also still get vetoed by the ITC president.

HTC said that the ruling affects only a “small UI experience” and that part of the UI would be removed in the near future. Peter Chou, head of HTC, said that both old phones will get fixed and the new tested model will arrive without it but gave no particularities about what the new models would look like.

It seems like Apple’s victory could turn out even narrower than previously thought. Initially, the comapny sued HTC over 4 patents it held and won over only one. 

source: Reuters

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posted on 21 Dec 2011, 04:02 8

1. ilia1986 (unregistered)

I would like to thank Apple for boosting HTC's marketing campaign. Now HTC can write on each of their products: "The Phone that Apple tried to stop".

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 10:56 1

10. ardent1 (Posts: 2000; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)

More like the phones that infringed on Apple's IP. HTC thought it could get away with and lost.

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 14:32 1

14. ilia1986 (unregistered)

So did Samsung and won - rightfully - and just as rightfully - HTC will win as well - and this will boost their campaign and public awareness.

Apple is like the comic villain trying desperately to avoid defeat while it's enemies - the good guys - stand around and laugh.

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 15:19 1

15. gallitoking (Posts: 4721; Member since: 17 May 2011)

some good guys if they are only standing around laughing... I still have hope for you Illia... your free world theory will just not happen...And your story about the justice league being spectators... wow...

posted on 23 Dec 2011, 15:01

16. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)

are u deranged... apple won a patent they got in 1999 and u are calling htc a good guy for infringing on it?

whats next, everybody gets to infinge on patents? no more capitalist order? communist takeover?

haha im kidding but seriously... how is htc in the right for infringing on patents

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 04:04 8

2. oldhamletman (Posts: 72; Member since: 03 Sep 2011)

making a telephone number into a hotlink is a patentable idea whose owner needs to be paid a royalty fee? a zillion customers will now have to manually dial phone numbers they receive in texts and emails... it's absurd...

patent law needs to be brought into sanity....

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 08:42 3

6. roldefol (Posts: 4364; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)

Some software patents are ....patently...ridiculous. For example, Amazon's One-Click feature is patented, prohibiting any other website from using one-click checkout. Essentially forcing everyone else to offer a less convenient shopping experience. That's how I see this patent - Apple claimed the rights to a convenient UI feature. Is it truly "new and non-obvious", the criteria for patentability?

The problem is that patents issued on software came about during a time when IP law was still catching up with the rapid pace of technology. UI patents are especially muddy. Some of Apple's patents likely shouldn't have been issued to begin with, but it's easier to work around one or two than try to invalidate them all.

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 11:04

11. ardent1 (Posts: 2000; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)

It is a known fact that there were prior art with respect to "Amazon's One-Click" patent.

As for Apple, take the "slide to unlock", they made it an industry standard because it was new and non-obvious. Give Apple credit for making that feature work in a way that people liked it.

BTW, the counter-argument goes, if you were so damn smart, why didn't you patent the "slide to unlock" feature in the first place.

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 05:03 6

3. lukasound (Posts: 152; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)

Suggestion to google...
Please patent the display of numbers on a mobile device... That would end this nonsense. You did it first anyways...

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 07:03 4

4. robinrisk (unregistered)


posted on 21 Dec 2011, 07:07

5. Lwazi_N (Posts: 205; Member since: 23 Jun 2011)

Many ways in which HTC may have worked around this patent. One is: On a web, sms or email page, the number displayed is used by long clicking on the number displayed which then minimises the app and lists the number and actions on the dialling screen. You can then choose what you want to do with the number i.e. call, save, sms, mms, fax, etc...

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 08:46 1

7. roldefol (Posts: 4364; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)

That's the likely workaround. Long clicking in Android is equivalent to right clicking in Windows, which brings up a list of options to perform. HTC can then claim Windows as prior art should Apple continue to fight them.

For further protection, Google should work this feature into GB and ICS. This affects everyone, not just HTC.

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 08:54 3

8. richardyarrell2011 (banned) (Posts: 510; Member since: 16 Mar 2011)

Htc will be fine all apple did was make them stronger everyone knows competition is what apple is scared of

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 11:08

12. ardent1 (Posts: 2000; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)

You mean like how HTC wanted to spend $300 million on S3 Graphics to bolster their losing argument. That's really "brilliant" and no wonder HTC will lose in the android arms race.

Apple LOVES competition; Apple hates people or companies that steal their IP. The facts are HTC infringed on Apple IP meaning HTC's actions forced Apple to defend its IP.

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 13:41 1

13. roldefol (Posts: 4364; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)

Which they did, pushing HTC to get creative and design around the patent. For all we know, the workaround could enhance the user experience and push technology forward. (Not saying it will, but it could.)

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 10:49 2

9. cncrim (Posts: 900; Member since: 15 Aug 2011)

The patent system got to need to be fix, telephone number into a hotlink patentable is crazy, it should be a part of FRAND.

posted on 24 Dec 2011, 11:16

17. roscuthiii (Posts: 2233; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)

Next up... suing for highlighting an item on a display by touching it. Wait, actually, i think i remember something about that a while back. Too early for brain function properly.

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