The ITC has issued a ruling in favor of Apple Inc., banning the sale and import or certain HTC phones in the US. The ruling, which was widely expected to finally be handed down today after being delayed twice, finds that HTC violates
a pair of claims patents a patent held by the Cupertino company regarding the formatting of data (such as phone numbers) in otherwise unstructured documents (such as emails) allowing users to interact with them. The ban isn't scheduled to be enacted until April 19th of 2012, giving HTC and Google plenty of time to address the court's concerns. The Taiwanese manufacturer could also simply remove the feature from its phones, though, the ability to interact with such information across apps, such as tapping a phone number in an email to dial it, is an ability most consumers expect their devices to support.
The International Trade Commission did not find that HTC violated two other patents in question, which related to realtime signal processing and would have been much more difficult for HTC to circumvent. Of course, this saga is far from over and we expect these two (along with practically every other mobile manufacturer on the planet) to continue to duke it out in the courts as opposed to in our stores.
You can check out the full PDF of the ruling at the source.
Update: Looks like HTC already has a plan in place to make it all better. Not shocking, but there it is, check out its statement after the break.
Update 2: HTC reached out to us to clarify that the company was not found to be violating a pair of patents, but that it was "two claims in a single patent."
Statement from HTC:
This decision is a win for HTC and 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. The '647 patent is a small UI experience and HTC will completely remove it from all of our phones soon.