http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/20/t...ry-on-patent-claim-over-android-features.html A federal agency ruled on Monday that a set of important features commonly found in smartphones are protected by an Apple patent, a decision that could force changes in how Google’s Android phones function. The ruling, by the United States International Trade Commission, is one of the most significant so far in a growing array of closely watched patent battles being waged around the globe by nearly all of the major players in the mobile industry, reflecting the heated competition among them, especially as Android phones gain market share. At the heart of these disputes are the kind of small but convenient features that would cause many people to complain if they were not in their smartphones. For example, the case decided Monday involves the technology that lets you tap your finger once on the touchscreen to call a phone number that is written inside an e-mail or text message. It also involves the technology that allows you to schedule a calendar appointment, again with a single tap of the finger, for a date mentioned in an e-mail. So far it's with HTC, but who knows in the future.