Feeds

US trade body decides Apple has case to answer

But would it really ban the iPhone?

The Power of One Infographic

The US International Trade Commission has decided to investigate HTC's allegations that Apple is infringing its patents. Its answer could see the iPhone banned from American stores.

The ITC's investigation is in response to HTC's complaint, filed on May 12th, that Apple is in breach of various patents owned by HTC. The complaint calls for a ban on the import of infringing products - an interesting prospect, but one that's pretty unlikely to actually happen.

At least the ITC will have Apple's details handy: it's already investigating possible infringements of touch-screen patents owned by Elan Microelectronics, which could equally well lead to an import ban.

Complaints to the ITC are very much in vogue at the moment, given the speed the decision can be made with and the immediate financial pain inflicted on the losing party. Patent battles can and do rage for decades, mostly to the benefit of the legal minds involved. Such spats can also lead to some sort of phased royalty payment which itself is generally subject to lengthy (and expensive) negotiations.

ITC investigations, in contrast, follow a strict timetable, and if the Commission upholds the compaint then infringing products cannot be legally imported into the US. That puts huge pressure on the company to resolve the dispute. When Qualcomm faced such a ban the company used every weapon at its disposal - the company even planned a personal appeal to then-president George Bush, but in the end had to grovel to Broadcom for a licence.

A ban on Apple products would certainly hurt the company, and quite possibly the US economy, but such a thing is still a very long way off. The ITC has announced it will be investigating, and now has 45 days to announce a schedule for that investigation.

Even if Apple is found to be infringing HTC's patents it will still get 60 days to appeal to the US Trade Representative. Such an appeal depends on the public good, and lack of harm to the infringed party. Qualcomm's public profile and political clout wasn't enough to help, but Apple has more of both and that certainly wouldn't do any harm. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.