The United States International Trade Comission has ruled against HTC and in favour of Apple over a patent dispute. The issue surrounds 2 patents relating to how data is formatted in otherwise unstructured documents allowing users to interact with them. The ban on the sale of HTC devices infringing the patent begins April 19, 2012 to provide a transition period for U.S. carriers, so there’s time for this to be reversed and in fact HTC has already stated it has a solution to the infringement. The comission has also said that HTC may import refurbished handsets to be provided to consumers as replacements under warranty or an insurance contract (whether the warranty or contract is offered by HTC, a carrier, or by a third party) until December 19, 2013.
These tit for tat patent disputes look set to continue. Let’s not forget Apple and Samsung are going at it over their tablet devices and Motorola and Apple are slogging it out in Germany. To me it only seems to benefit the lawyers involved in the cases as invariably there’s always a “get out of jail” card to be used even if you loose a patent dispute. I’d much rather see them investing this money in bringing device costs down or advancing technology. What annoys me more is the companies that harvest patents and then sit on them until they find someone to sue. Seriously, the filling and ownership of patents needs to be looked at more closely to avoid all this nonsense.