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Patent infringement lawsuits have become a permeating characteristic of the mobile industry these days, particularly with Apple’s watchful eye over rivals’ hardware and software implementations. The latest to fall under Apple’s ire is HTC, whose shipments of the HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE were seized by U.S. Customs to ensure they don’t violate an injunction on behalf of Apple.
Now customers are left without the revamped HTC phones, expected to re-establish the manufacturer as a viable player in Android’s ecosystem. Best Buy was forced to renege on letters sent out just yesterday, promising that the EVO 4G LTE would ship on May 23rd. The electronics retailer has also updated their order page, indicating that the phone is “coming soon.” Likewise, Sprint’s website says that the EVO 4G LTE is out of stock, offering few other details.
Getting around patent red tape
To circumvent Apple’s injunction, HTC has modified the software on the AT&T One X and Sprint’s EVO 4G LTE, hoping to avoid infringing on Apple’s patent # 5,946,647. The patent covers the detection of certain data like contact numbers and email addresses, with options for how to interact with that data.
“Specifically, the ITC found that HTC's messaging app, the stock Android messaging app and the stock Android browser all infringed claims 1 and 8 of Apple patent #5,946,647 — but the ITC also specifically found that Apple's patent claims were limited to the system both detecting data structures like phone numbers and email addresses in text and then presenting a menu of options when those detected structures are clicked,” writes The Verge.
The U.S. devices also include a new “app associations” settings screen, where you can specify which apps to use for default functions, like email or maps.
There’s no telling whether or not these changes will pacify the injunction brought against HTC, but it looks like the handset maker has only updated the One X and Evo 4G LTE for the U.S. market, leaving international shipments as is.