SAN JOSE, Calif. – The U.S. International Trade Commission handed Apple a narrow victory in its suit alleging the Android smartphones of Taiwan's HTC violates Apple's patents. Separately, British Telecom joined the mobile patent wars, alleging in a suit in U.S. District Court in Delaware that Google violates six of its patents.
HTC has until April 19 to stop violating a patent on making a phone call or a calendar entry by tapping on a phone number or date. Observers said HTC can work around the patent or temporarily eliminate the feature from its phones to avoid disruption of its sales.
The ITC did not find infringement on any of the other nine patents in the Apple case. Some of those patents, including one on signal processing techniques, would have been harder for HTC to work around.
"This ruling falls far short of anything [that] would force HTC out of the U.S. market in the near term," said Florian Mueller, who runs a Web sitethat closely follows the mobile patent wars. "Apple will need a higher hit rate in the future, and it will have to enforce patents that are greatly more impactful than this one," Mueller wrote.
The ITC case is one of nearly 100 between top smartphone players such as Apple, Android partners and Microsoft. It could take a year or two before the impact of the cases becomes clear, said Mueller in an interview for an EE Times-Confidential analysis.
Meanwhile, British Telecom joined the fray. It charged Google violated six patents in its Android and other software. The patents cite ways to create networked services and navigate information on them.
Rick, I can't offer an explanation for this either! Both FireFox and IE have long supported plugins (like Skype that I also use for landline-mobile calls) that you can click on in the message and call a number. I don't how this is different in user interaction with that of a haptic interface on a mobile device.
So my question why didn't Apple sue Mozilla and Microsoft on this?
Another example of where the current patent system needs rework, regardless of whether or not you feel this is a valid patent. Many of the same arguments can be applied to the other patents in the case and why they should or should not have found in favor of them.
The original Andoid OS which Google acquired was a blackberry symbian clone[search google for pics]. Its only after Eric saw iPhone using his privileged access from Apple board, Google started working on todays Android.
I keep saying this to all human race: the best tech companies are ones with good lawyers. It is not always the tech that wins - the other side matters. Can you imagine this? Just like Intel that wants to have a monopoly.