The ‘data tapping’ dispute between HTC and Apple is back in play. Back in December, the ITC sided with Apple in its “data tapping” patent infringement complaint against HTC. The patent itself is a “system and method [which] causes a computer to detect and perform actions on structures identified in computer data,” which covers how Android interacts with the UI, automatically identifying a phone number, email address or hyperlink and presenting the user with multiple execution options when tapped.
The ITC gave HTC until April 19, 2012 to update the software on its phones before an exclusion order would prevent all infringing devices from being imported in the the United States. After a short holdup and inspection by U.S. Customs, all HTC handsets were cleared and said to be in compliance with the ITC’s ruling.
Unfortunately, Apple was not satisfied with the U.S. Customs stamp of approval and has issued another complaint with the ITC regarding the same “data tapping” patent. Apple claims that HTC’s software workaround still infringes on Apple’s #5,946,647 patent even though HTC’s tweaks change the way the OS interacts with links, phone numbers and emails by allowing users to select application associations within the phone’s settings. At the time of the ITC’s initial ruling, HTC claimed “the ‘647 patent is a small UI experience and HTC will completely remove it from all of our phones soon.”
Apple’s complaint shows images of the functionality within the Gmail application which they claim infringes on its patent. Upon inspection, Apple is showing off Android’s menu which shows up when long-pressing a link which gives users the option to open the link in the browser, share it with another application, or copy the URL – which are present on all modern-day computer operating systems and most likely do not fall under Apple’s #5,946,647 patent.
Do you think Apple’s new complaint against HTC will get any traction from the ITC or will Apple have to resign to the fact that its “data tapping” patent is trivial and can easily be avoided by HTC and other OEMs.