Feeds

US trade body decides Apple has case to answer

But would it really ban the iPhone?

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms firm here
Is goTenna tech a goer? Time to grill CEO, CTO
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.