Apple accuses HTC of dodging ITC injunction and misleading U.S. Customs officials

Apple HTC Patent Dispute

Apple’s lengthy patent litigation paid off last month after the International Trade Commission delayed the launches of HTC’s flagship One X and EVO 4G LTE smartphones. The Taiwanese manufacturer in December was found to have infringed upon Apple’s patent that covered a “system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data,” and was given until April to remove the infringing feature from its imported handsets. The delay was soon resolved and within days, HTC’s smartphones were being released from Customs. Apple has now suggested to the ITC, however, that HTC may have misled U.S. Customs officials in order to dodge a possible injunction against its devices.

“HTC’s misstatements here provide further support for Apple’s request for relief and temporary emergency action,” Apple wrote, per FOSS Patents. “If HTC is now telling the Commission that its Android Products contain functionality that ‘links only a single action to a detected structure,’ Apple can fairly assume that HTC told Customs the same thing, despite the incontrovertible showing in Apple’s Enforcement Complaint that HTC’s representation is wrong.”

HTC has maintained its innocence and responded with its own letter to the ITC in which the company acknowledged that Google’s GMail client  is one of the infringing factors, however because the software is closed-source, HTC does not have the option to tweak the code and avoid infringement. Apple countered HTC’s claim and maintained that the company is responsible for infringement on its devices even if it is not in possession of the original source code.

Patent expert Florian Mueller notes that the ITC’s exclusion order is “clearly meant to stop all infringement of the ‘647 patent, by any HTC products and regardless of which apps are involved,” potentially leaving the troubled smartphone vendor in serious trouble.

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