Recently, Apple filed a patent infringement case against HTC with the U.S. International Trade Commission regarding four (reduced from Apple's original ten) alleged patent infringements. Late last week the ITC ruled in favor of Apple regarding two of the patents. This has broader implications for the entire Android lineup of products with multiple different Android manufacturers. Luckily, this is only the first phase of the process. This "initial determination" will now go to a review by a six-member Commission.
HTC just released a statement vowing to fight this ruling. Here is a quote from HTC’s general counsel, Grace Lei,The patent's that the ITC ruled against are No. 5,946,647, a “system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data,” and No. 6,343,263, a “real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data.” Both of these patents are fundamental to the core of how the Android functions, and are rather broad in scope. These two patents are also the same ones linked to Apple's similar case filed against Motorola currently. The SlashGear article also indicated "that a worst-case scenario could result in an import ban against not only HTC Android products but many other Android devices. Another possible outcome is that HTC would have to remove certain functionality from its devices and in turn degrade the quality of its products."We are highly confident we have a strong case for the ITC appeals process and are fully prepared to defend ourselves using all means possible. We strongly believe we have alternate solutions in place for the issues raised by Apple. We look forward to resolving this case, so we can continue creating the most innovative mobile experiences for consumers.”
Furthermore, Apple has made it clear that they are unlikely to offer any type of patent licensing deals like Microsoft does currently. This would leave HTC with no recourse but to stop selling their Android lineup until they can modify them. HTC shares tumbled on Wall Street at this news. It seems that HTC's comment last week “that Apple has resorted to competition in the courts rather than the market place”, is looking more accurate every day.
Source: Android.net via SlashGear