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U.S. Customs has seized HTC's smartphone shipments and have refused to give it a timeline for when its changes will be reviewed.  (Source: Change.org)
Customs ban remains in effect, government hasn't revealed when it will bother to review HTC's changes

Apple, Inc.'s (AAPLU.S. Patent No. 5,946,647 covers data-tapping -- creating actionable links in a text document, and displaying a menu of options, such as to call or save a phone number.

While questions of prior art surround the patent, Apple has thus far been successful in convincing the courts of the patent's validity.  However, despite Apple suing all the major Android manufacturers and despite the feature being in all stock Android browsers/messaging apps, it's only been able to use the patent to pick off the smallest and weakest of Android "big three" -- Android's HTC Corp. (TPE:2948).

Even as Apple's decision to "beat up on the little guy" has drawn ire, HTC has moved to try its best to restore its products.  The Verge confirms that its testing of the Evo 4G LTE -- a new handset on preorder at Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) -- and the One X -- a handset coming to AT&T, Inc. (T) -- reveals that both devices no longer carry the infringing browser and messaging app bulids.

HTC has developed modified versions of these apps.  It cleverly creates a settings menu that allows users to directly associate a data type with a specific app.  This allows documents to be marked up in such a way that it skirts Apple's patent description, given that rather than a menu coming up, a click directly launches the app.

The workaround is dubbed "App Associations".

App associations
HTC has removed the infringing feature from its smartphones via a new feature dubbed "App Associations". [Image Source: The Verge]

The big question is whether HTC's hard work will do any good.  After all, even before The Verge's verification, HTC insisted that all of the handsets that had been held up at Customs featured the modification.

According to HTC, U.S. Customs officials have refused to inspect its product or consider lifting the ban after a month of inaction.  With the AT&T and Sprint left in a quandary about how to fulfill preorders, HTC is desperate to get the ban lifted.

But the U.S. International Trade Commission and Customs have offered no clue that Customs officials might be ready to review HTC's seized shipments.  Thus HTC finds itself in the position of a prisoner left forgotten in a holding cell.

Customs does not have clear-cut publicly available rules regarding how and when it bans products, so HTC is at the mercy of these bureaucrats.  And right now they seem perfectly content to enforce a ban that benefits Apple, despite compelling and clear-cut evidence that HTC no longer is offering the contended feature.

That questionable policy is certainly not sitting well with Android fans and customers who preordered.  But it's a pleasing development to Apple's well-heeled, polished legion of lawyers and the company's most zealous fans.

Source: The Verge



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Soooo much Fail all over this.
By Adam M on 5/17/2012 6:43:11 PM , Rating: 2
Apple isn't hurting for people to buy their products, but I do wonder how many potential customers they have alienated with their tactics. For phones I prefer Android and I love my original HTC EVO. I was seriously considering getting the new EVO. (Its still a toss up between that and taking my OG EVO to Cricket.)For other products like a tablet or laptop I was considering Apple but due to their monopolist tactics I will go out of my way to avoid buying any Apple product for years to come.




RE: Soooo much Fail all over this.
By coferj on 5/18/2012 9:30:14 AM , Rating: 4
Probably a small percentage. Most purchasers are brand followers.


RE: Soooo much Fail all over this.
By masamasa on 5/18/2012 11:05:02 AM , Rating: 5
Your pretty much right on. Ask anyone about their stance on Apple and nobody seems to know that they constantly sue competition using their monopolistic tactics.

Just sheep in a herd unfortunately.


By MoneyLoo on 5/23/2012 9:31:19 PM , Rating: 2
Or maybe they just like well designed, productive and attractive pieces of tech.

Also, just because most people go about their daily lives ignorant of frivolous lawsuits and court decisions doesn't make them sheep (really, do you watch Judge Judy all day? And that's supposed to be the entertainment version of court.)


RE: Soooo much Fail all over this.
By bug77 on 5/18/2012 9:35:04 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
I do wonder how many potential customers they have alienated with their tactics


I would be surprised if a single iSheep customer stops buying Apple because of their tactics.


Imports vs Made in USA.
By drycrust3 on 5/17/2012 7:01:23 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
According to HTC, U.S. Customs officials have refused to inspect its product or consider lifting the ban after a month of inaction.

Why can't HTC create a subsiduary "manufacturing" company in America, ship "components" (complete phones with no battery or OS in them) to this factory, "assemble" the phones (install the battery and OS), stick on a "Made in USA" sticker, and ship them off to the stores.
Another solution is to sell the phone with a very basic "non-infringing" open source OS, and make it so the phone purchaser can install their own OS from an overseas website? For example, HTC could provide a range of OS on their website in Taiwan to suit different tastes and genres (some free and some "premium"), e.g. catering to sports fans, catering to the stock market, to Blackberry type users, etc.
And soon there will be other OSes available, e.g. Microsoft, Linux variants, BSD variants, etc.




RE: Imports vs Made in USA.
By sprockkets on 5/17/2012 9:01:55 PM , Rating: 2
Well you would have to say "assembled in the USA" first. It still would add much more in costs than their planned work around.

HTC could simply do what they are doing now but leave somehow the copies of their phone and other apps to install, but for it to work right you have to do it via recovery.

Suse hosts decss and other tools to break DRM, so maybe HTC could get away with it...


Tired of Apple's arrogance
By masamasa on 5/17/2012 5:01:38 PM , Rating: 2
Time for the competition to give them a good, swift kick in the ass using their own 'shady tactics' and turn the tables on them. Not a company with a good reputation, that much is clear.




ICE
By chrnochime on 5/18/2012 2:12:23 PM , Rating: 2
ICE, your friendly gov't entity that helps get those horrible GT-R out of the States. /sarcasm




Apple Hater
By eagle470 on 5/17/2012 6:21:27 PM , Rating: 1
I always hated Microsoft....and now Apple has become what they always complained Microsoft was. I can honestly say I hope Apple gets their monopoly then gets broken up just like AT&T did (though I still think the AT&T thing was so that politicians could profit from the other companies.)




Apple's fans don't care about Android or HTC
By tjoynt on 5/17/12, Rating: -1
RE: Apple's fans don't care about Android or HTC
By Omega215D on 5/17/2012 8:31:30 PM , Rating: 2
Then you must've had your head up your ass. There's always been that smug attitude from the Apple loyalists. They've been seen on 'Cult of Mac' the Mac vs PC ads, most recently with Instagram being made available on Android to which Apple users called the Android users poor or trash and much worse. There's countless more but you're probably another Tony Swash.

Goddamn hipsters.


By sprockkets on 5/17/2012 11:44:16 PM , Rating: 2
This pretty sums them up. You just don't notice him as much since so many other normal people have iphones now.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2002/07/12/

The blurb behind it

http://penny-arcade.com/2002/07/12


RE: Apple's fans don't care about Android or HTC
By testerguy on 5/18/2012 3:07:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
There's always been that smug attitude from the Apple loyalists


No, that's your own insecurity complex surfacing again.

As the original poster said, most iPhone users are neutral, unbiased, logical guys who do not like to see patent wars. Your perception that they are smug is like when the really dumb kids at school keep saying to everyone 'you think you're better than me?' ...

Grow a pair and stop being so insecure. The rest of the world doesn't care enough about you to even bother acting smug.


By thejerk on 5/18/2012 7:49:35 AM , Rating: 2
I'm with this guy.

Every time I read people arguing about which platform is better, I assume two 15 year-olds are Internet posturing.


By tng on 5/18/2012 8:31:50 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
As the original poster said, most iPhone users are neutral, unbiased, logical guys who do not like to see patent wars.
This statement shows what has been happening to the world, it doesn't care.

It is not about how Apple users "Care" about the patent wars that Apple has started, it is about what they do about it. While you say that we should all just grow a pair, remember that if you ever tire of buying Apple products someday, you might find that you have no choice if Apple has their way.

If the all of Iphone users decided to buy an Android or Window phone in protest, all of this anti-competitive BS from Apple would stop in a hurry. Most people who I know who have Android phones have bought them not because they like them better than an Iphone, but because Apple has started the patent wars.


By dark matter on 5/18/2012 11:59:32 AM , Rating: 2
Most iPhone users can't help showing their iPhone off to other iPhone users who go OOoh, is that the new iPhone.


By lightfoot on 5/18/2012 12:24:33 PM , Rating: 5
That is the single most smug comment I've read in a VERY long time! Way to go!

quote:
No, that's your own insecurity complex surfacing again.

Translation: You're insecure and I'm not, because I use Apple products.
quote:
As the original poster said, most iPhone users are neutral, unbiased, logical guys who do not like to see patent wars.

Translation: Apple users are logical and you're not.
quote:
Your perception that they are smug is like when the really dumb kids at school keep saying to everyone 'you think you're better than me?' ...

Translation: You are the dumb kids.
quote:
Grow a pair and stop being so insecure.

Translation: Buy Apple products.
quote:
The rest of the world doesn't care enough about you to even bother acting smug.

Translation: You are irrelevent to me.

Isn't that the very definition of smug?

Smug: (adj.) contentedly confident of one's ability, superiority, or correctness.


By ritualm on 5/19/2012 1:27:25 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
No, that's your own insecurity complex surfacing again.

As the original poster said, most iPhone users are neutral, unbiased, logical guys who do not like to see patent wars. Your perception that they are smug is like when the really dumb kids at school keep saying to everyone 'you think you're better than me?' ...

Grow a pair and stop being so insecure. The rest of the world doesn't care enough about you to even bother acting smug.

Amazing. You just proved you are obnoxiously insecure and smug.


"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007














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