Apple has been quite keen in having its patents enforced around the globe, and particularly in U.S. One of the reason why the company is so hard-on about this is that Apple has pioneered a number of things in the smartphone market. Recently, Apple was able to gain a key victory against HTC by having certain HTC devices blocked because they infringed Apple patent. It now seems that HTC has found a way around this import ban.
As per the rules, all HTC has to do is not infringe any of Apple patents bit too openly in the version of Android running on its devices. To accomplish this, HTC has come up with a novel strategy.
The company is now shipping its devices to US with custom Android builds installed on them. These builds lack more or less all such features which Apple had claimed to have been patented. For instance, HTC devices now being shipped to US do not contain a ‘data tapping’ feature. This feature is no longer present in AT&T One X as well as Spring Evo 4G.
Also, both of these devices feature an all new settings screen. These changes are not there in international HTC devices which essentially shows that the company has added these changes solely to counter any legal action Apple may take against HTC in US.
Also, the Android messaging app that came with HTC handsets by default had been found to be infringing upon a number of Apple patents. The specific features which were involved in patent infringement, such as data tapping, are no longer a part of the HTC devices that are now being shipped to the US market. In fact, they now have a new ‘app association’ settings screen.
Will this move help HTC counter the ban that was imposed by the International Trade Commission on its handsets due to patent infringement? That is not clear because ITC has the authority to continue the ban despite these changes. So we will have to wait for the official word from ITC on this one.
Source: The Verge