HTC cannot seem to catch a break lately. In December of last year Apple sued and won “limited exclusion order” on the import into the US of some handsets from HTC on ground of patent infringements in front of the International Trade Commission. Now, US customs review is delaying the US launch of HTC’s flagship smartphones: The HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE.
The ITC declared that Android’s messaging app and browser infringed upon Apple patent #5,946,647, which covers automatically converting things like phone numbers and email addresses into actionable links that open a menu of options. The ruling became effective from April 19 as HTC was given some time to design around Apple’s patent claims.
“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 International Trade Commission exclusion order,” the firm said in a statement. “We believe we have worked around our design and are now in compliance with the ITC ruling,” HTC added, “we are cooperating with the U.S. Customs to speed up the review process.”
The custom issues is expected to have a bigger effect on the EVO 4G phone, which has not yet been launched in the US, than on the already-launched One X. A number of One X shipments had already entered the US before the ban took effect April 19. Sprint was to offer the EVO 4F LTE in the US on Friday but that is not longer going ahead. HTC also added that there may be a shortage in the U.S. in the future for the One series, which have been offered by AT&T Inc. This would happen if there is a prolonged customs review leading to inventory depletion of the units that were already shipped to the US prior to April 19th.
HTC shares dropped 6.6% to close at NT$411 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.