A Small Victory for iPhone; HTC Not Worried

December 22, 2011
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If you’re keeping a close eye on the updates on the ongoing Apple infringement cases, you’ll agree that it really has a lot on its plate. Recently though, the US International Trade Commission gave a ruling that an Apple patent was violated by HTC. This, however, does not have a huge impact on the business of the Android maker whereas with Apple, this could turn into a bloody mess.

The ruling was made after Apple Inc. finally persuaded federal authorities to prohibit the US sales of some unlawful Android phones that had features similar to the iPhone. Considering there are so many different varieties of Android tablets and smartphones alike, the chances of them disappearing from market shelves won’t be happening anytime soon.

That said, the ruling made from the governing body was actually pre-anticipated. With regards to its ongoing legal battles with Motorola Mobility, Samsung Electronics, and HTC Corp; this was actually among the most anticipated developments of the case.

Currently, Apple is facing dozens of lawsuits throughout the world. Their efforts are being extended so they can prevent their rival companies from selling smartphones that mindlessly ‘copied’ features of the bestselling iPhone. The target of these lawsuits range from the more sophisticated technologies in which phones are able to function, including some key mechanisms which control the sending and receiving of data, to the more simple features such as the display of emoticons on a screen.

With this case however, the grounds of Apple’s victory over HTC was purely based on the technology that covered a close similarity to how smiley-faces were operated. Thus, stating that the Taiwanese manufacturer was infringing a single Apple patent which covered how addresses and phone numbers were displayed in email messages. The function allowed a user to initiate a call by simply taping on the number found on an email. This, unfortunately, was a patent Apple owned for 15 years already.

When asked how this suit will affect Android, Bijal V. Vakil, an intellectual property attorney from White & Case answered:

‘I don’t see this is a big deal… It’s going to make Apple feel better, but it’s just one independent case.’

Mr. Vakil is in no way involved in the case.

As for the other party involved, HTC only expressed a lack of concern saying that this feature was just a small portion of their undivided user experience. They will also be removing the function from their phones to abide by the April 2012 deadline set by the trade commission.

Despite the fact that Apple is a highly popular and profitable product, it has witnessed the birth of more Androids taking over the smartphone scene. During the last quarter, sales of the Android doubled to almost 53% compared to its 25% sales last year.  Comparing this to iPhone’s steady 15% sales each quarter, Apple certainly has reason to worry.

What do you think? Do Android manufacturers have to worry about Apple winning on this particular case?

 

[Source: Mercury News]

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