Apple wins one patent infringement case against HTC but loses nine others. The end result: No more single tap calling for Android users.
A recent ruling by The United States International trade Commission found that HTC, manufacturer of phones that feature Google’s Android operating system, violated one of Apple’s patents. The ruling potentially paves the way for Apple to win similar lawsuits against other smart phones that utilize the Android technology.
Although Apple originally filed complaints for more than ten patent infringements, the court ruled only one case to be valid. That patent: the technology that allows users to call a phone by tapping hyperlinks for phone numbers displayed on websites or received via text messages. The same technology also allows users to schedule calendar appointments by tapping dates mentioned in emails or text messages.
Other copyright battles between the two technology giants were overruled by the recent hearing. Among these overturned rulings was one patent victory for Apple that dictates how software is organized internally on mobile devices. If the court had overturned the ruling regarding this internal technology, it is likely that HTC would have a difficult time adapting, potentially rendering the company obsolete.
The New York Times reported: “The decision could potentially affect far more phones than those made by HTC because the underlying target of the suit is Google, creator of the Android system that now powers more than half of all smartphones sold worldwide. Apple is suing several other makers of Android devices, as is Microsoft, and companies that make Android products are returning the favor in most instances through countersuits.”
Apple retains a share of about 15% of the smart phone market worldwide. The competition in this market is extremely cut-throat, as smart phone technology seems to rapidly become the population’s main means of computing and accessing the internet.
“HTC said it would comply with the commission’s ruling by removing a feature that currently gives users a list of options whenever they receive, say, a phone number in a message on their smartphones. The users will no longer get a menu giving them the choice to save the phone number in their contact lists, dial the number or send a text message to it. Instead, HTC said it would give them only the option of dialing the number. United States Customs and Border Protection will determine whether HTC’s changes are sufficient to comply with the ruling.”
Patents for smart phone technology are becoming increasingly popular, with the number of patent laws related to mobile device approaching 100 worldwide.