Apple files third ITC complaint against HTC targeting 29 new phones

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple has filed its third patent infringement complaint in as many years with the U.S. International Trade Commission against rival smartphone maker HTC.

The complaint was filed on Monday against HTC's latest devices, which Apple has alleged infringe on its "data tapping" patent, according to intellectual property litigation expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents. The latest complaint seeks an emergency proceeding targeting a total of 29 devices for allegedly infringing on Apple's data detectors patent.

That invention, U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647, previously resulted in an ITC injunction against HTC Android phones in December. The handset maker quickly developed what it said was a workaround to avoid infringement, but the importation of smartphones was still held up at U.S. Customs for review.

Now, Apple has argued that HTC is still infringing upon the '647 patent, entitled "System and Method for Performing an Action on a Structure Computer-Generated Data." The invention outlines technology for automated detection of data such as phone numbers, e-mail addresses and hyperlinks.

Apple's Advanced Technology Group invented "data detectors" in the mid-1990s. The feature fist appeared in the Mac operating system, and allowed the OS to recognized formatted data, like a phone number, within an unstructured document, enabling a user to take action upon the data recognized.



Apple has asked the ITC for an emergency proceeding and enforcement action that would prevent what it believes is further infringement from devices like the HTC One X, Sensation 4G, Evo 4G LTE and Incredible 2.

Apple's complaint also includes two screenshots from HTC's handsets as evidence that the company has not ceased infringement of the '647 patent. They show an HTC One S presenting a user with the options to open a link in a browser, copy the URL, share the link, or send it to Facebook.

Mueller noted that Apple's patented invention relates to certain operations on data structures rather than just a user interface element.

"In other words, there can be a genuine dispute over whether HTC's new implementation of the feature still falls within the scope of the patent," he wrote. "HTC apparently believes that it doesn't, while Apple believes that it does. The ITC will now have to evaluate the technology found in HTC's current products."

Late last month, HTC handsets that were held up at U.S. Customs began trickling in to the U.S. for customers to purchase. HTC said in an announcement that "some models" of its smartphones began arriving in America, but declined to say which models had passed inspection.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    lamewinglamewing Posts: 742member


    Okay, Apple wants to file against HTC. Okay. But an EMERGENCY filing....really?

  • Reply 2 of 48
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,741member


    Steve Jobs picked the right man to protect Apple's interests. Now, I cant speak for his "vision", but its nice to see that as always, Apple is as litigious as ever. Unless you protect what's yours vigorously, you end up with the kind of differentiation that Dell and HP have: next to nothing. 


     


    Keep up the pressure, Tim. 


     


    The industry at large has taken far too much away - far more than their fair share - from what happened in June 2007 and January 2010. It is high time that everyone's patent position is clarified via the courts.


     


    Then we'll know where everyone stands. 

  • Reply 3 of 48
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    lamewing wrote: »
    Okay, Apple wants to file against HTC. Okay. But an EMERGENCY filing....really?

    'Emergency' in legal filings means something different than in everyday life.

    Essentially, it means that if the issue is that significant damage can be done before a conventional hearing schedule would occur.

    "In other words, there can be a genuine dispute over whether HTC's new implementation of the feature still falls within the scope of the patent," he wrote. "HTC apparently believes that it doesn't, while Apple believes that it does. The ITC will now have to evaluate the technology found in HTC's current products."

    This is the real issue. HTC already lost the data tapping patent issue. They were given time to fix the problem. If they are found to have fixed the problem, then they're OK. If, OTOH, the commission sides with Apple, then HTC is screwed and may be in contempt of court.
  • Reply 4 of 48
    therbotherbo Posts: 70member


    This is why I'm glad software patents dont exist in Europe.

  • Reply 5 of 48

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lamewing View Post


    Okay, Apple wants to file against HTC. Okay. But an EMERGENCY filing....really?



     


    Yes, because HTC was given 4 months by the ITC to make necessary modifications. If they are still infringing, should HTC be allowed another 4 months? No. This is why the emergency meeting.


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post





    This is the real issue. HTC already lost the data tapping patent issue. They were given time to fix the problem. If they are found to have fixed the problem, then they're OK. If, OTOH, the commission sides with Apple, then HTC is screwed and may be in contempt of court.


     


    When I saw the screenshots of the original vs modified "workaround" I LOL'd. Apple didn't patent the "look & feel" of the data tapping patent - they patented the core underlying functionality. It appears all HTC did was "disguise" the way it looks to the user while still retaining the underlying functionality. I have a feeling HTC could be facing an immediate ban shortly.


     


    Anyone remember when HTC said this was a "minor feature" and easy to remove?

  • Reply 6 of 48
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Therbo View Post

    This is why I'm glad software patents dont exist in Europe.


     


    Without checking anything to see if this is the case, my gut reaction is that's wrong. 

  • Reply 7 of 48
    therbotherbo Posts: 70member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    Without checking anything to see if this is the case, my gut reaction is that's wrong. 



     


    http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Do_software_patents_exist_in_my_area#Europe

  • Reply 8 of 48
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,284member


    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post





    This is the real issue. HTC already lost the data tapping patent issue. They were given time to fix the problem. If they are found to have fixed the problem, then they're OK. If, OTOH, the commission sides with Apple, then HTC is screwed and may be in contempt of court.


     


    I have no idea if you're correct or not Jr, but it doesn't seem right that HTC could be held in contempt.


     


    The ITC action was to prevent importation of certain HTC handsets that were deemed by an ITC judge to be infringing on specific Apple IP. Handsets were held up at US customs until that government agency could verify that HTC was no longer infringing on those particular handsets, which US Customs determined had been taken care of in accordance with the ITC order. How would HTC be in contempt?

  • Reply 9 of 48
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,194member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lamewing View Post


    Okay, Apple wants to file against HTC. Okay. But an EMERGENCY filing....really?



     


    It's part of the game. If HTC, Moto, Samsung etc had a patent they thought Apple was 100% violating you can bet they would do the same thing. 

  • Reply 10 of 48
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Apple has filed its third patent infringement complaint in as many years with the U.S. International Trade Commission against rival smartphone maker HTC.

    The complaint was filed on Monday against HTC's latest devices, which Apple has alleged infringe on its "data tapping" patent, according to intellectual property litigation expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents. The latest complaint seeks an emergency proceeding targeting a total of 29 devices for allegedly infringing on Apple's data detectors patent....


     


    I was wondering when they were going to get around to this the moment I heard about the "workaround" (which isn't actually a workaround at all). 

  • Reply 11 of 48
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


     


    Good, so I was right. Thanks!

  • Reply 12 of 48
    markbyrnmarkbyrn Posts: 591member


    If Tim Cook hates litigation, he must be a masochist.  

  • Reply 13 of 48
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,194member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


     


    The ITC action was to prevent importation of certain HTC handsets that were deemed by an ITC judge to be infringing on specific Apple IP. Handsets were held up at US customs until that government agency could verify that HTC was no longer infringing on those particular handsets, which US Customs determined had been taken care of in accordance with the ITC order. How would HTC be in contempt?



     


    but did US Customs have an expert actually go through the software or did they just flip on the phones and compare screens and since they didn't look the same decided it had been 'fixed' when in fact it had not and HTC was trying to use a sleight of hand and word play to 'fix' things. And if that is the case then yes they could be found in contempt and a ban could be put back in place until they prove 100% that they have truly modified their system bottom up and removed the infringement. 

  • Reply 14 of 48
    therbotherbo Posts: 70member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    Good, so I was right. Thanks!





    Huh? I was using that link to back me up, they don't exist but some do. However they are usually invalidated if brought to court, alot of them have been invalidated recently. 

  • Reply 15 of 48
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Therbo View Post


    This is why I'm glad software patents dont exist in Europe.



    Why, so the clear inventor of an original idea can't protect it from the rest of the industry?  


     


    It's rare that there is a case like this where one party clearly invented something that no one else had thought of, that did it first, that owns all the "prior art" and that had used the idea for many years before it was even attempted to be used by others.  Why shouldn't they get the rights to it?  It's their idea.  

  • Reply 16 of 48
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Therbo View Post

    …they don't exist but some do. 




    So they exist. Okay.

  • Reply 17 of 48
    wovelwovel Posts: 956member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Therbo View Post




    Huh? I was using that link to back me up, they don't exist but some do. However they are usually invalidated if brought to court, alot of them have been invalidated recently. 



     


    They do exist and the EPO still issues them today.  The link you provided clearly says so.  Just because something may get invalidated at a future time does not mean it does not exist. Just because you don't like them it does not mean they don't exist.  Even though saying they don't exist makes you feel happy or even superior, they still exist.  They exist for Europe as a whole and they exist in nearly every individual European country.    

  • Reply 18 of 48
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,284member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


     


    but did US Customs have an expert actually go through the software or did they just flip on the phones and compare screens and since they didn't look the same decided it had been 'fixed' when in fact it had not and HTC was trying to use a sleight of hand and word play to 'fix' things. And if that is the case then yes they could be found in contempt and a ban could be put back in place until they prove 100% that they have truly modified their system bottom up and removed the infringement. 



    US Customs must have based their holding of the HTC hansets on something, and the only thing I can think of is the ITC order that they must have had in hand. The onus was on Customs to verify the handsets no longer infringed before allowing them into the US I would think. The ITC had ordered Customs to block imports if the infringement still existed. If anyone was in contempt it seems more like it would be US Customs. If there was any question about it wouldn't they ask the ITC? Dunno since IANAL. 


     


    Perhaps Law-Talkin' Guy can give his 2 cents.

  • Reply 19 of 48
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Late last month, HTC handsets that were held up at U.S. Customs began trickling in to the U.S. for customers to purchase. HTC said in an announcement that "some models" of its smartphones began arriving in America, but declined to say which models had passed inspection.


     


    Oh well.  There are only a few solutions for the smart phone customs problem in Mexico:


     


    1) Liquidation sale of "some models" at gift shops throughout Tijuana, or


     


    2) Arson, or


     


    3) All of the above.

  • Reply 20 of 48
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,691member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Therbo View Post


    This is why I'm glad software patents dont exist in Europe.



    If true, that would explain why the US software industry dominates.


     


    (Edits in italics).

Sign In or Register to comment.