The US Customs agency has ‘indefinitely’ delayed the importation of the HTC One X for AT&T and HTC EVO 4G LTE for Sprint due to alleged patent infringement and an ITC victory Apple won last December.
If you’ve wanted to know when the patent wars would get out of hand, mark your calendars. Apple has been successful at delaying a few Samsung products in Australia and Germany, but today the litigation has gotten real for all of us in the United States. Because of Apple’s claims of patent infringement, the HTC One X for AT&T and the HTC EVO 4G LTE for Sprint have been delayed ‘indefinitely’ at US Customs as the agency investigates if the devices are still breaking Apple patents. All of HTC’s phones, and most electronic devices, are manufactured in China and other regions of the world. They must be imported into the United States to be sold here.
“The US availability of the HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE has been delayed due to a standard U.S. Customs review of shipments that is required after an ITC exclusion order,” HTC said, in a statement. “We believe we are in compliance with the ruling and HTC is working closely with Customs to secure approval. The HTC One X and HTC Evo 4G LTE have been received enthusiastically by customers and we appreciate their patience as we work to get these products into their hands as soon as possible.”
The US Customs investigation dates back to an order by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) last December. The ITC ruled that HTC phones did violate one of Apple’s patents — a patent (US 5,946,647) related to detecting data items within otherwise unformatted content. HTC had until April 19 to fix the problem or face the ban of all infringing phones. Though the One X and EVO 4G LTE were both unveiled after the order went into effect, and the One X has already been on sale at AT&T, the ITC order was extremely broad, allowing US Customs to ban the importation of all HTC “personal data and mobile communications devices” that run Android and infringe on the patent. If this problem isn’t cleared up quickly, the upcoming Droid Incredible 4G LTE by HTC and the HTC One V could also face investigation and ban.
According to the statement above, HTC believes it has met the ITC requirements and no longer infringes on Apple’s patent, but US Customs has decided to check to make sure.