ITC Imposes Import Ban on HTC Handsets over iPhone Patent Infringement

On Monday, the US International Trade Commission ruled against HTC and decided it had infringed an Apple patent, though it was not all bad news for the Taiwanese phone maker, Metro reports.

The federal agency enforced an import ban on HTC phones starting four months from now, on April 19th, giving HTC enough time to develop a strategy that would allow the company to adjust its plans to the new situation.

The International Trade Commission suggested that HTC Corp could import refurbished phones to replace their subscribers' phones, under the warranties and insurance plans.

Apple had complained last April that HTC infringed ten different patents related to mobile technology, but after months of legal wranglings the court decided that only one of Apple's patents had been violated.

The patent is related to data detection, and allows the development of smartphone functions such as calling somebody by tapping his or her number from an email or accessing the map to find a location after tapping the address in a text.

However, it appears HTC is not overly disappointed with the ruling and will take the required steps to have the import ban lifted. Grace Lei, HTC's general counsel, explained "We are very pleased with the determination and we respect it. However, the 647 patent is a small UI experience and HTC will completely remove it from all of our phones soon."