Feeds

US trade body decides Apple has case to answer

But would it really ban the iPhone?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.