HTC Patent | "HTC Has Workaround for Feature that Violates Apple Patent"

By: Paul Mozur
Category : HTC Patent

TAIPEI—HTC Corp. Chief Executive Peter Chou said the company has developed a workaround for the feature on its smartphones that the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled had violated an Apple Inc. patent.

The workaround for the feature—a common function on smartphones that allows users to extract information such as phone numbers and addresses from emails to make phone calls or look up a locations on a map—suggests the Taiwanese manufacturer of phones that run on Google Inc.'s Android operating system won't suffer a decline in sales as a result of the ruling. The trade commission had given the firm an April deadline to remove the feature or develop a workaround.

HTC shares closed up by the 7% daily limit at 509 New Taiwan dollars (US$16.83) as the ruling lifted much of the uncertainty that was weighing on the shares—which had declined about 60% since April—and was a better result for the company than investors had expected.

The Android platform faces a rash of legal challenges from Apple against suppliers such as HTC and Samsung Electronics Co., and it remains to be seen whether the ITC will rule that a more fundamental feature of Android violates Apple patents in other cases.

Mr. Chou said the company had already removed the feature from its phones following the ruling Monday.

The executive made the remarks at a joint news conference with Google Mobile Senior Vice President Andy Rubin, who said the ITC decision was encouraging because Apple's complaints that more fundamental parts of the Android operating system had violated its patents weren't upheld.

"The majority of these patents [in Apple's complaint against HTC] were claimed in the operating system itself, but actually in this case what was some user interface feature of an application, not the operating system itself, so that's why I'm very optimistic in basically my desire to achieve patent peace on the overall platform," Mr. Rubin said.

He added that the ruling is just the beginning of a battle over intellectual property that will extend for several years and that he doesn't believe the patent system in the U.S. works for software innovation.