ITC rules: HTC violated Apple patents, some HTC devices banned in US starting April 19 [UPDATED]

UPDATE [Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 7:46am ET]: The article has been updated with a paragraph added to the bottom with a statement from HTC CEO Peter Chou saying his company is “testing” new devices meant to avoid the sales ban.

The International Trade Commission just ruled in favor of Apple in the Apple vs. HTC patent lawsuit regarding mobile devices [PDF document]. HTC was found guilty of violating Apple patent 5946647 that is described by Google Patent Search:

A system and method causes a computer to detect and perform actions on structures identified in computer data. The system provides an analyzer server, an application program interface, a user interface and an action processor. The analyzer server receives from an application running concurrently data having recognizable structures, uses a pattern analysis unit, such as a parser or fast string search function, to detect structures in the data, and links relevant actions to the detected structures. The application program interface communicates with the application running concurrently, and transmits relevant information to the user interface. Thus, the user interface can present and enable selection of the detected structures, and upon selection of a detected structure, present the linked candidate actions. Upon selection of an action, the action processor performs the action on the detected structure.

HTC has violated products. The ruling involved the phone’s software, and it is subject to an import ban on April 19, 2012. The ITC said HTC could continue to ship replacement devices for currently shipped products. Obviously, a ban on certain HTC products is a major blow to the company, and because this is software-based, other Android device manufactures should not be too pleased. You can read the ITC’s full ruling through the The Verge.

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HTC could drop its planned purchase of S3 Graphics following the ITC ruling favoring Apple

Taiwanese handset maker HTC’s lawsuit against Apple over infringement of S3 Graphics’ patents has suffered a fatal blow (in addition to this one) as the United States International Trade Commission (ITC), which can block the import of products, reversed its earlier decision and ruled in favor of Apple on November 21. The Commission has officially ended its investigation of the case and HTC shares fell 4.9 percent on the news.

And now, Bloomberg reports that HTC “will reevaluate” its planned purchase of S3 Graphics following the ITC ruling.

HTC Corp. will reevaluate its planned purchase of S3 Graphics Co. after the target company lost a U.S. International Trade Commission ruling it brought against Apple Inc. over patent infringement, the Taoyuan, Taiwan-based company said in a statement today.

Just yesterday, HTC’s general counsel Grace Lei told DigiTimes yesterday his company “will consider an appeal”. But after closer inspection of the ITC ruling, the company clearly concluded the best course of action is to consider dropping the $300 million acquisition of graphics maker S3 Graphics announced back in June, which only proves this acquisition may have been planned as a leverage in HTC’s other legal dealings with the iPhone maker.

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Obama could override ITC in any device import blocks by Apple or Google

Didn’t know this:

But another peculiarity of the ITC is that its rulings can be waived by the president. Verizon thinks it would be great if President Obama, in a blanket statement, made clear he would not let stand any decision blocking importation of consumer wireless devices. The parties then would have to recur to normal patent litigation, and whatever rights and wrongs are discovered could be settled by exchanges of cash. Mobile is a rare industry exhibiting growth, job creation and animal spirits. Who needs a paralyzing meltdown?

It will be interesting to see if the President will override if Apple wins any of the blockades it is seeking against Android devices in the ITC.  IF he does, Apple/Google/Microsoft/whoever will have to go through the longer patent dispute process.

Both iPhones and Android devices could be blocked by pending ITC rulings.

Some background: Read more