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HTC phones held up at US ports after Apple patent ban

Stocks low as customs search boxes for illicit gear

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US sales of two new HTC smartphones have been held up at customs over the company's patent battle with Apple.

The fruity firm bagged a small win against HTC in December last year with the International Trade Commission that covered just two claims on a patent. HTC immediately said it would put workarounds in all its new mobiles so the customs ban wouldn't be an issue.

Today, the Taiwanese firm said that boxes and boxes of two different mobes were sitting on the dock while US customs officials had a rifle through them.

"The US availability of the HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE has been delayed due to a standard US Customs review of shipments that is required after an ITC exclusion order," the firm said in a canned statement.

"We believe we are in compliance with the ruling and HTC is working closely with Customs to secure approval."

Despite the workaround, customs still have to check the phones to make sure they don't contain the illicit features.

The firm's shares slid nearly 7 per cent on the news, as the problems added to investor concern about falling revenues.

HTC's first quarter profits dropped 70 per cent this year as its phones failed to drag worshippers away from the altars of Apple and other rivals.

The new One series is HTC's last-ditch attempt at reviving its phone fortunes and it needs to get them out into the US, which was once its biggest market.

The trade commission's ban only started on 19 April, so HTC did manage to get enough One Xs into the country to launch the phone, but it is unclear how much stock is left. The EVO 4G LTE had been due to launch on Friday, but this has now been delayed. ®

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