The United States International Trade Commission protects an Apple patent
Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs wanted to “destroy” Google’s Android for stealing his company’s ideas, and the United States government decided Jobs was right on Monday – at least in one regard.
The United States International Trade Commission ruled that HTC, which manufactures phones carrying the Android operating system, violated one of Apple’s patents, potentially clearing the way for Apple to win similar rulings against others making Android smartphones.
However, the ruling is not quite the victory Apple hoped for when it filed a complaint back in March of 2010. That said HTC violated 10 of Apple’s patents, and this ruling only covers one.
The commission ruled that several small features were protected by that one patent, such as the technology to tap once to call a phone number listed in an e-mail or text message.
If the Taiwanese HTC fails to alter those mobile phones with the infringing features, those products will not be permitted into the country.
The potentially larger impact is that Apple wins similar rulings against other smartphone manufacturers, and Apple still has a lawsuit against HTC in federal court.
The competitive mobile industry has grown increasingly contentious as companies seek to gain a larger foothold in the market of arguably the most important platform. Android phones currently make up more than 50 percent of the market while Apple sits at around 15 percent, according to Gartner Research.
Lawsuits have cropped up across the globe, with Apple in particular accusing other smartphone manufacturers of pilfering its ideas. However, those sued by Apple tend to sue the company right back.