Apple suggests HTC dodged ITC injunction with 'misstatements' to US customs

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple has suggested to the International Trade Commission that HTC made "misstatements" to U.S. Customs in order to dodge an injunction against its handsets.

In a letter to the ITC last week, Apple called HTC's own arguments against the injunction "misstatements" and expressed concern that the Taiwanese phone maker had misled Customs into allowing infringing devices into the country.

"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," Apple's letter read, as noted by Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents.

The ITC granted Apple the injunction against HTC last December after finding HTC guilty of infringing upon a "Data Detectors" patent that details a method for automatically detecting and creating links for information such as phone numbers, email addresses and URLs. The company was given until this April to remove the offending feature from its imported devices.

In May, HTC revealed that some of its phones had been held up by Customs for inspection. Customs began releasing some of the phones just a few days later.

HTC One X
HTC's One X smartphone



Apple's most-recent letters argue for a temporary ban of HTC devices on the basis that the company continues to infringe even after implementing a supposed workaround.

"HTC's factually erroneous excuse for continued importation of products covered by the LEO [limited exclusion order] bolsters the necessity for emergency relief," the letter read.

HTC's position is weakened by the fact that it chose not to get an "advisory opinion" from the ITC about the products it was importing. Though HTC is not required to seek the opinion, doing so was a "risky path" because it could be construed as flagrant infringement. Mueller called HTC's decision to proceed with importing products that have questionable data detector functionality "brash."

A new letter from HTC was filed last Friday. The company argues that it doesn't have access to code for Google's own GMail app, which contains disputed linking features. However, Mueller characterized the assertion as a "ridiculous argument that constitutes an insult to human intelligence."

Apple has countered by claiming that HTC is responsible for infringement on its devices regardless of whether it has access to the original source code. According to Mueller, the ITC's exclusion order is "meant to stop all infringement" of the data detectors patent, so any infringements in GMail could still trigger the injunction.

Though HTC has filed its own legal complaints against Apple, it has been less successful than its rival. Earlier this month, HTC gave up on an appeal with the ITC over a lawsuit against Apple. A second ITC lawsuit brought by HTC against Apple was challenged last week with a counterclaim by the iPhone maker that accuses HTC of abusing standard-essential patents.

HTC has struggled as rivals Apple and Samsung have carved out increasingly larger portions of the smartphone market. In the first quarter of 2012, the company reported that its pre-tax profits had fallen by nearly 70 percent. Late last week, HTC announced that it was immediately abandoning the Brazilian market after poor sales in the region.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    ivladivlad Posts: 735member


    Agg, Apple attacking a wrong company. I have a lot of respect for HTC since they actually make their own designs for phones and don't rip-off like Samsung. It's Samsung that Apple really needs to attack.

  • Reply 2 of 16
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member


    Uh, is Apple attacking HTC for having GMail on their phones???

     

  • Reply 3 of 16
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lightknight View Post


    Uh, is Apple attacking HTC for having GMail on their phones???

     



     


    Well obviously if the proprietary GMail software is infringing the patent then yes.


     


    Perhaps Google should help HTC out with a work around seeing as it's part of their closed ecosystem.

  • Reply 4 of 16
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,732member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


     


    Well obviously if the proprietary GMail software is infringing the patent then yes.


     


    Perhaps Google should help HTC out with a work around seeing as, it's part of their closed ecosystem.



    I agree.


     


    IMO it's unfortunate that domestic companies (Samsung HTC and other foreign companies can't use the ITC for this) can do an end-around and get an exclusion order from the ITC before the case is even adjudicated, but that's the way the system is set up. Can't blame the players for taking advantage of it. The order assumes that the patent claims are likely to be valid to begin with. So far this is all preliminary stuff with a lot of assumptions. A finding whether the claims really are legit comes at some later date after the damage to HTC has already been done.

  • Reply 5 of 16


    "These are NOT the smartphones you are looking for"

  • Reply 6 of 16
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,732member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Apple has suggested to the International Trade Commission that HTC made "misstatements" to U.S. Customs in order to dodge an injunction against its handsets.



    The ITC granted Apple the injunction against HTC last December 


    The ITC doesn't issue injunctions. The proper term for the ITC action is an Exclusion Order.

  • Reply 7 of 16
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,951member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    The ITC doesn't issue injunctions. The proper term for the ITC action is an Exclusion Order.

    And the proper term for a misstatement is a lie. Apple isn't in the baking business and shouldn't be sugar coating anything. Just call a spade a spade.
  • Reply 8 of 16


    Samesung should be happy!

  • Reply 9 of 16
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,732member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post




     

    And the proper term for a misstatement is a lie. Apple isn't in the baking business and shouldn't be sugar coating anything. Just call a spade a spade.


    When Judge Posner suggested Apple wasn't being honest in one of their filings in the Moto Apple case the bloggerspere called that a misstatement too. I suppose that word rather than lie gives companies/lawyers a potential out that the statements perhaps weren't intentionally misleading, instead simply a different understanding.

  • Reply 10 of 16
    lfmorrisonlfmorrison Posts: 697member


    Fairly simple solution:  Ship the device without the Gmail app.  As it crosses the border, it will not contain the infringing functionality.


     


    As soon as the device reaches the customer, they can log on to the Google Play marketplace, and install whichever 3rd party apps they want -- including Gmail, if that suits their interests.


     


    At that stage of the game -- end users installing Google-supplied Apps through a Google-owner storefront -- Google would unambiguously be the entity importing the software containing potentially infringing functionality, so we could finally see these lawsuits going against Google, the actual originator of the alleged infringements and therefore the only truly appropriate target.

  • Reply 11 of 16


    Since when does Apple's legal army "suggest" that someone made "misstatements"?


     


    Don't they usually insist that the other side is lying?


     


    Are they following a new strategy given their recent string of failures?

  • Reply 12 of 16

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JerrySwitched26 View Post


    Since when does Apple's legal army "suggest" that someone made "misstatements"?


     


    Don't they usually insist that the other side is lying?


     


    Are they following a new strategy given their recent string of failures?





    I wouldn't place much stock in any lawyer that used language like "they're lying" in an official legal filing.  "Misstatement" conveys a similar meaning without all the pejorative baggage.

  • Reply 13 of 16
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    HTC has struggled as rivals Apple and Samsung have carved out increasingly larger portions of the smartphone market. In the first quarter of 2012, the company reported that its pre-tax profits had fallen by nearly 70 percent. Late last week, HTC announced that it was immediately abandoning the Brazilian market after poor sales in the region.


     


    See?  There is no "Android community" among handset makers.  They would all love to destroy each other.


    Samsung can and will crush the life out of all other Android handset makers, including HTC.

  • Reply 14 of 16
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lfmorrison View Post


    Fairly simple solution:  Ship the device without the Gmail app.  As it crosses the border, it will not contain the infringing functionality.


     


    As soon as the device reaches the customer, they can log on to the Google Play marketplace, and install whichever 3rd party apps they want -- including Gmail, if that suits their interests.


     


    At that stage of the game -- end users installing Google-supplied Apps through a Google-owner storefront -- Google would unambiguously be the entity importing the software containing potentially infringing functionality, so we could finally see these lawsuits going against Google, the actual originator of the alleged infringements and therefore the only truly appropriate target.



    If Google did that, they would lose the control they have to lock handset makers into their ecosystem.

  • Reply 15 of 16
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post


     


    See?  There is no "Android community" among handset makers.  They would all love to destroy each other.


    Samsung can and will crush the life out of all other Android handset makers, including HTC.



     


    Android will become Touchwiz, locked into KIES.

  • Reply 16 of 16
    lfmorrisonlfmorrison Posts: 697member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    If Google did that, they would lose the control they have to lock handset makers into their ecosystem.





    They still own the Play marketplace (the "walled garden"), and they could still compel handset makers to pre-install that marketplace by default.  Within that marketplace, they have the power to place a heavy emphasis on Google-supplied solutions and obscure any competing 3rd party alternatives.


     


    In any event, I don't see any tangible "lock" to Google's ecosystem at present, because users of the vast majority of Android devices have always been able to side-load Apps that weren't obtained through the manufacturer's officially sanctioned App market.

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