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Judge rules that HTC infringed on 2 of 10 Apple patents

The International Trade Commission has ruled that HTC is infringing on two of the ten patents involved in the original Apple v HTC suit.  Grace Lei, general counsel for HTC has already stated they plan to appeal the decision:

HTC will vigorously fight these two remaining patents through an appeal before the ITC Commissioners who make the final decision. This is only one step of many in these legal proceedings.

If said appeal is not successful, HTC will have to try to find a way to settle with Apple, or face the prospect of an importation ban of the offending products.  HTC was the first company that builds Android phones to be sued by Apple, but as we all know, not the only -- or likely the last.  Apple has another suit filed against HTC, as well as Motorola and Samsung.  We don't have the details of the two patents HTC allegedly is infringing on, so we can't comment any further than say the US patent system is completely broken.  No word from Apple, or Google as of yet.  We'll say more when we know more.

Source: CNET. Thanks, Andrew!

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Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • Clarification: it was only one judge of the six who ruled for Apple in a preliminary decision. This decision is subject to review by the full panel of ITC judges. Also note that ITC staff initially recommended against Apple, so the reviewing judge must feel he's found something they overlooked. More coverage at FOSS Patents. The sky isn't falling yet, there's a long way to go in this fight. Motorola has already made a motion to dismiss the two Apple patents in question, so this whole deal may be moot if Moto wins out.
  • Thanks for the clarification. Further 8 out of 10 claims clearly do not infringe, and that means this is the second time apple has risked a bunch of patents, and lost virtually all of them. Once you lose, your patents are worthless. They can't turn around and use them against Moto. Contrary to the hand wringing on your fosspatents site, 647 means didly. Its totally non essential to Andorid. Its most applicable to google goggles, where you can scan a business card and parse the image into fields in the address book. Nothing in Android, (or linux) relies on this technology. 263 again purports to claim something that was in general use in almost every computer since the 8088. If HTC violates that then Intel violates that, and AMD and everyone else. Way too much hand wringing by people who have no clue how computers really work.
  • Oh I agree, the FOSS blog is full of hand wringing and fear. I've looked at the blog some more since I initially posted my comment, and decided I don't really like the guy behind it and find most of his analysis in this instance faulty. Like all patent lawsuits that aren't dismissed out of hand, this one will have its ups and downs for both sides stretched out over a long period. It's mostly been up for HTC so far. Patent law is so convoluted and broken (in the US) that it's no wonder why these things drag out for years.
  • fu#$@%&* screw apple, i want to know what phones this will affect and what patents were infringed upon.
  • This is actually a big deal...
    First, here are the actual patent numbers 5,946,647 and 6,343,263. And here is the links to what they are: '647:
    '263:,3... Now the '647 patent is called "Fundamental to the Android OS" this means todays ruling is the first to conclude that Android infringes on another's OS...this is the same patent Apple is suing Motorola over.
    Here's my source:
  • As far as I can tell, #5,946,647 has to do with automatically parsing data from a written sentence, e.g. when a phone number or UPS tracking number is highlighted in an email message. #6,343,263 appears to be "computer modem". How exactly can they claim that's their idea?
  • Exactly. 647 is so overly broad that it should never have been granted. The US Post Office was parsing data on scanned addresses since way before 1999 to sort mail. Microsoft Excel could recognize dates, currency, etc in a spread sheet column without you having to even tell it what was in the column since the 1995, and foxpro before that. I doubt this is significant to smart phones any more than it is to Google search, or microsoft word, or any given spread sheet program.
  • so if this goes through google will have to eliminate android? i just don't get it, android is nothing like an iphone. the real reason behind this is google is kicking both microsofts & apple asses in sales.
  • No, it doesn't mean Android is getting eliminated. (rolls eyes..)
  • Lol.....oh boy
  • This just shows how instead of innovating to compete, Apple resorts to bullying to be successful.
  • Totally agree! Can't wait to the next iteration of crap Apple comes up with on the Iphone5. I am sure it will have some feature Android already has or has had for some time.
  • iOS 5 is DEFINITELY going to have Android-like features when it arrives this fall. A great example of that is the implementation of the swipe-down gesture to access notifications, messages, etc. - something that's been in Android likely from day one (can't claim 100% on that...). With all these lawsuits (including the one against Amazon), seems like Apple's trolling to me.
  • Look, I don't like this lawsuit nonsense either, but you really couldn't be more wrong in that statement. Apple does not have a history of patent trolling at all. (and they DO have a history of innovating)
  • apple fanboy? who left the door open here?
  • Where have you been, man? 2010-2011 have been "The Year of Apple Suing The Living Daylight out of Anyone and Everyone".
  • So they've sued HTC and Samsung, who else? If you actually look at Apple's history (not the last 12 months, but the last 12 years) you'll find that they rarely go after competitors for baseless or patent-trolling reasons. Now, in this particular case I agree with most of you that these patents seem a bit broad and vague, and in general I'm not a fan of software patents in the first place. What annoys me is that Apple has no problem innovating, and has generally made the rest of the consumer electronics industry look silly for the last several years. They don't need to sue people. I'm sure they're very concerned about Android and it's exploding marketshare, otherwise they wouldn't bother doing this. That being said, if they keep sticking to what they do best (making good products that people want to buy) then everything else will take care of itself.
  • Google Apple Lawsuits and do some research. I'm not sure if you get out much if you don't know that Apple has been suing since they started the company. they actually sued Microsoft for stealing the same technology from xerox that they stole lol
  • despite buying the osx86 install is being deleted tonight.
  • I do see how the hardware manufacture are at fault since they're making the system based on the patent and android just float's their os on it. Is it fair?.. I think it's ridiculous how some people can own these patents.. It's not like they invented logic, numbers, and silicone. I'm going to laugh when god sues the apple. :)
  • even while terminally ill steve jobs is behind this. i hate to see anyone die but when he does and he will i see apple going down the toilet and it won't bother me one bit.
  • Well that's a pretty crass and classless thing to say. It's just a smartphone, put your fanboyism in the closet and take a few deep breaths.
  • Well if this goes to the finish line and Apple gets it's way.. you're right. It'll be just a smartphone I can never have. I'm still holding out for my 'its just an EVO 3D on Verizon's and if HTC is forced to stop importing phones I could be up that creek without a paddle. And to the Guy who said Apple has no history of being a patent troll.. maybe you need to do some more saundering through history.
  • Damn bro its just a phone no need to think about the death of jobs just because he's suing , I understand u love android but its not life or death here
  • never said i wanted him to die, i said it's going to happen and when it does there goes apple and i won't shed a tear. learn to read what i typed.
  • The patent system is broken? Steve said it in 07, "Its called multitouch and boy have we patented it." Lets be real what was HTC before android and the iPhone? Making garbage windows mobile phone. I'm surprised there have been only 2 patents infringed. Steve said it tho, "Good artist create, Great artist steal."
  • htc didn't make windows mobile, they made the hardware and their was nothing wrong with most of those phones. wow i cannot believe some of you agree with this ruling?
  • No, it's broken. Rulings like this say one thing only -- that two people can't come up with the same idea, and do it differently. Patents were originally designed to protect the small inventor from big corporations (like Apple), but now they are abused regularly.
  • I my view as far as HTC and how they do business THIS WILL CHANGE NOTHING...The two patents in question are 5,946,647 and 6,343,263, the former of which is said to be "fundamental to Android." It's also worth nothing that said patent is one that's being argued over in a separate Apple vs. Motorola battle. That said, I won't pass to much judgment but basically this will be settle OUT OF COURT.
  • And you don't see how Apple basically owning a patent that is "fundamental to Android" is a bad thing? You really have no clue. So very very sad...
  • I see you haven't learned anything from our discussion over at PocketNow. If Apple is sooo "useless", how is it that their products are so popular? How is it that many of my college friends do everything they need to for school on their Apple products? If Apple is so "useless", why do you feel the need to denounce the company as such? Wouldn't a "useless" company not exist anymore? Shut up already.
  • Greed and trying to control the market is gonna sink the Apple ship. Sad.
  • Legitimate patents suits are totally understandable. But, those aimed at simply obstructing competition will be pyrrhic victories at best.
  • apple & microsoft fear android because of the overwhelming sales figures and marketshare. that's the bottom line.
  • Wonderful reminds of the 90's when everyone was suing everyone now its just faceless companies doing so :)
  • 550,000 per day = desperate apple
  • bingo!
  • This is the exact reason why Google needs to buy more patents meaning Blackberry
  • Both Apple and Google are sitting on a pile of cash for some reason. The other shoe will probably fall soon.
  • So when is google going to sue apple for adding the notifications system to ios 5? Although google probably didnt think to patent it. I guess that makes it ok for apple to use it. Yeah they're innovating!
  • good point, i never thought of this. the whole patent system needs a major overhaul. come to think of it, i don't think any of these apple lawsuits will pass.
  • I wonder if the judge was taking notes on an ipad. *puke* . I bought an Ipad last year.. and traded it for a Galaxy Tab.. I lost money, but ended up gaining ground by downloading so many free apps, it made up for the rip-off amount of money I paid for apps on the Ipad..every good app is free on Android.
  • I can appreciate your enthusiasm for all things Android, but your statement is borderline delusional. I like Android as much as the next guy, but the current app situation on Android tablets is a complete joke. It will get better for sure, but right now the quantity and quality of apps for the iPad is miles ahead of Android tablets.
  • Google really needs to stop being nice and stop creating Google apps for iOS, could you. imaging an iPhone without Google Maps, YouTube and all the other Google apps on it
  • Apple sues, and they lose a relationship. Samsung provided the A4 and A5 processors and other components for the iPhone and iPad. Can't count on that now. Google has a vested intrest in being everywhere people are, even on competing platforms. One lawsuit from Apple, Google pulls the plug and Apple customers lose all the G--oodness. Neither side wants that.
  • Youre right, neither side wants that but truth of the matter is Apple is trying to become a self-efficient company. I do believe the Samsung lawsuit will divide Apple and Samsung for good but Apple is obviously prepared for it. They have already delegated the responsibility of creating their new A6 processor to someone other than Sammy
  • Thats OK .. Apple will be royally screwed here in the U.S. very soon ( Once EVERY American owner of either (or both) an iPhone or iPad sues Apple for “Location collection that violates federal computer fraud laws and consumer fraud and deceptive trade practice laws in many states” .. roughly 60 million U.S. users out there .. this will be one NASTY class action lawsuit that Apple SCREWED themselves with .. LMFAO P.S. – I will be one suing there butts .. I have 2 iPhone 4’s .. bring it on bitches.
  • Can anyone explain to me why if most of these problems are within the Android OS Apple doesn't just sue Google instead of going after their hardware distributors?
  • This is just a shot in the dark guess, it may be because they license it for free. If they are not selling it, then how could Apple charge them for it? I may be wrong, but I'd sue the ones making direct profit from the implementation, the companies making the hardware. Not in favor of the premise of suing boatloads of companies over broad patents, but that's what I would do if I needed to make cash or slow down the competition.
  • There is a nightmare context to view this whole situation through. What country is almost all of these products made in? China. American software patents are blatantly ignored there as is everyone else's. The manufacturer can if they so choose just ignore whatever ruling and carry on as they wish. If an import ban is issued said company will then lobby the government's trade and foreign affairs departments for exemptions. Business will then continue as usual. If you don't think it can happen consider this; Apple Corp sued Apple Computer for copyright infringement 20+ yrs ago. That's the Beatles catalog holdings company if you aren't aware. They managed to score import bans against Apple 4 times in the course of that 2 decade case. Apple got exemptions from the govt and it was business as usual. Oh and Apple had to finally change their corporate name and pay hefty fines and licensing fees to Apple Corp for the name. By the way Apple wasn't the first to work around an import ban. But it's indicative of how broken this system is. Do you really think the US Gov't is going to allow a handful of tech companies to start a trade war with China? Nope. There will be a lot of posturing and threats then top level trade reps will sit them all down and say, "Work this out kids lest we have to put all of you in time out!" Now before you say this won't happen consider the countless claims of software piracy and patent infringement from companies like Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, HP, Sun Micro, Cisco, and even Apple themselves. The results are always the same. The company in question says it's wrong and some even sue but in the end they eat the loss and move on. China maintains a large interest in everything made there. And they hold the cards in trade balance. They will not allow that revenue stream to get disrupted by trivial patents in the US or anywhere else.
  • You make an excellent point. Most computers and all computer parts are made in china. Even the company that Apple hires to make their iPhone and iPad is in China (Apple doesn't manufacture hardware. They pay pennies on the dollar for it to be made in China, then charge a premium price for their fanboys to buy them). The US Government isn't going to allow any company to affect the trade relationship with China. HTC Phones (and any other China manufacturer) aren't going to be banned from US sales. There's too much money in it. And neither Apple nor Microsoft (nor anyone else) is going to attempt to take on Google Directly because Google is worth more than Apple and Microsoft, combined. Neither Apple nor Microsoft would ever win that fight. They know it, so they go after the little guys instead. The quality of Android apps definitely needs to improve and no doubt, when ICS Phones and devices come, it will.
  • but HTC is from Taiwan, not China. that's another clusterfuck in it of itself.
  • No, China is the owner of them(Taiwanese)also, just like The States own Puerto Rico(except worse).
  • When you can no longer innovate, you litigate.
  • Bottom line is Apple has a lot of cash which equals alot of research & development hours which equals finding the best possible product to market which then turns into their marketing teams having their lives made easy. Apple knows how to market ideas better than any other electronics company in the world. Even if their ideas arent necessarily ground-breaking they sure do a good job of making it seem like they are to average Joe. They are very good at protecting what they "create". My guess is (like any smart corporation) they have been putting together cases against their competitors for years now and are pretty much making a stand while staying in the news. I will never buy an Apple product in my life for myself but I do know business.
  • I live in the UK and patented a physical invention here in the 90s. Patents were intended to protect inventors, so they can share ideas safely, while retaining rights to the benefits flowing from them. They were intended to foster progress, not stifle it. In Reality - Most individuals do not have the financial resources to defend a patent if a big company decides to ignore it. A few (like Dyson) have done so successfully, but they are the exception. Some patent law specialists say: if you have a great idea, produce it and sell millions fast; it's often the most effective approach. Many companies spend millions developing ideas, systems and products; which should be granted protection, but the licencing of inventions should always be an issue of the price paid - not access to it. The blanket denial of access to a known solution sometimes leads to better ideas, systems and products; but sometimes this is the only sane solution. Licencing should be a built in obligation for corporate patents, lets fix the problem, not the blame.
  • Apple found one Judge out of the panel that uses their products. This will get squashed when it goes thru appeal process. Funny part of this entire thing is this was NOT a pattern Apple invented, they bought it, so when they say to companies to invent their own technology instead of stealing, check into Apple, they do nothing but steal patterns, they have broke so many small companies it is pathetic. Apple is the worse when it comes to pattern stealing, yep 550,000 a day is making Apple desperate, VERY DESPERATE. Google will be looking to swing the knock out punch now, you can be sure. Just keep making those killer phones and sooner or later these Apple robots will finally figure it out and move to ANDROID.
  • LoL Steve Jobs himself said good artists copy, great artists steal. So then crApple goes out and buys some patents and then turns around and sues. I swear M$ and CrApple are out for blood because they cannot compete on a level playing field. Smells like anti trust to me and it stinks bad and its all coming from the M$ and crApple camps...If you cant beat them, buy patents and or cry patent infringement and sue/fine until you can beat them.
  • This is a potentially huge win for Apple. The patents here are also included in their case against Motorola. There is still hope for HTC though, apart from their appeal, Motorola can potentially win on their case too, which would effectively throw those last 2 patents from Apple out of the window against HTC. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the judges rule in the case.