The ITC yesterday ruled that HTC’s Android based smartphones infringe upon one of the claims in Apple #5,946,647 patent which centers on analyzing and linking data structures. Put simply, the patent embodies scenarios when one application parses a string and can then communicate that information over to another application. One example we cited yesterday was how the iPhone Mail app can recognize when an email contains a phone number or address and subsequently becomes a clickable string that can launch an outside application.
In any event, as a result of the infringement, the ITC initiated an import ban on HTC smartphones running Android beginning on April 19, 2012. Now HTC can skirt around the import ban if they’re able to modify their phones as to not infringe upon Apple’s patent.
And that’s exactly what they’re planning on doing.
In a statement made to BGR, HTC explained.
We are gratified that the commission affirmed the judge’s determination on the ‘721 and ‘983 patents, and reversed its decision on the ‘263 patent and partially on the ‘647 patent. We are very pleased with the determination and we respect it. However, the ‘647 patent is a small UI experience and HTC will completely remove it from all of our phones soon.
Interestingly, the first iteration of HTC’s statement claimed that the company’s designers had created “alternate solutions for the ‘647 patent.” This was subsequently clarified and removed from the HTC statement you see above.
Clearly, the finalized statement is much weaker, with HTC applying some typical PR spin insofar as the the ‘647 patent is a “small UI experience.”
To be sure, most UI experiences are small, but taken together, it’s those small experiences that separate a device like the iPhone from the rest of the pack.