Jun 06 AT 10:29 AM Nick Gray 47 Comments

Apple files new ITC complaint against HTC – alleges HTC’s ‘data tapping’ workaround still infringes on Apple patent

android-apple Image via: laihiu with Creative Commons

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.

Source: Foss Patents

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started HTCsource.com (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • tatiG

    Apple is nuts. let’s just say that.

  • triangle

    Apple should just shut up on this.

  • Kyle Zurkan

    They should make a better device/os and stop suing manufactures the are better.

  • Darkseider

    At this point screw Apple. I do truly hope that Apple as a company somehow turns into the next RIM and self destructs. I would be sorry for the jobs lost and the people put in jeopardy by this but Apple as a company has now shown that no matter what they cannot innovate any longer. Their only way of even attempting to stave off competition and innovation is through endless litigation. In short, FUCK APPLE.

  • redraider133

    Apple should invest more money into their product and os rather than suing and trying to stifle innovation

  • SGB101

    Borrrrrrrrrring

  • andy_spoo

    Personally, I think if the US keeps upholding all these stupid obvious patent then all the electronic suppliers across Asia, and Europe should stop all imports and exports to the US. Apple makes lots of money for the US government and thats it. Screw ‘em.

  • halo0

    If Apple had a face, I would punch it.

    • monika

      Just pick any hipster with big black frame glass and an iPhone. That should do for now ;-)

  • ZzX44

    Apple, please die in a fire.

    P.S: Take your fan-base with you

  • Kaote

    So after the ITC clears the devices the first time Apple is still not happy, someone needs a pacifier.
    The embargo on Apple products remains in effect in my household.

  • AppleFUD

    everyday there is a little more news that makes me a little more sick and tired of apple. . . just when I think they may pull their collective heads out of their collective back-sides I get another affirmation, like this one, as to why I no longer even consider them a company that produces anything, as I don’t even bother to look at their products any longer – they are just a company that fills news but produces nothing in my eyes.

  • yankeesusa

    This is unbelievable. If apple wins this case I really don’t know what is going to happen. Alot of those features have been around for a while and I would hate to lose them. Something needs to be done regarding these vague patents. Seriously. If obama did something about the patent issues before the election this may win him reelection lol.

  • JGreene

    Is HTC the only one who does this with the phone numbers and emails or does apple just pick on HTC?

    • ZzX44

      Everybody and their mother has infringed upon that incredibly vague patent

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      It’s a feature built into Android, but Apple it taking it up with the OEMs rather than fighting things out with Google. Apple has sued Motorola over the same issue, but the trial date isn’t until later this year.

    • http://www.baldypal.com Adam Jones

      This is a feature that everyone has come to expect from their phone and/or computer for that matter. Just because Microsoft came up with “spell check” and little red squiggly underlines when i misspell a word does not give Microsoft the chance to sue Google if they wanted to since Google puts little red straight lines under a misspelled word.

  • reoootch

    I guess Steve Jobs’ ghost is at the helm still and Apple will not ever rest until they have destroyed Android. They need get off of it and make a better device before their own customers get sick of the BS and jump ship.

  • Jake Gall

    When is googles patent of the pulldown and notification bar going to be granted? So google could sue apple for stealing ideas that pre date the iPhone, the g1 had it and apple didn’t have that feature till ios5. I’m getting tired of apple’s jealousy over android.

  • jamal adam

    I am getting sick and tired of all this crap that Apple is pulling out of its ass. Just because HTC is actually innovating and make strides in technology does not give Apple the right to sue, complain, and whining like a bitch. They need to get over themselves and stop being the biggest ass in the tech industry.

  • Paul Grocock

    I was using these features on my HTC manufactured XDA back in 2004, you could ring from a phone number in any mailed text, or an email would get high lighted so yo could press on it to reply. Nokia also used the same tech. Written from my JAIL BROKEN LIBERATED IPAD
    Ps. I am on my 7th HTC phone in 8 years. The HTC one X it blows the iPhone clear out of the water.

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      The Apple patent covers the action that take place when you click that phone number or email. The patent covers variable options once a phone number is clicked (call, send sms, add to contacts) but it does not cover launching a predefined application – which is exactly what HTC’s workaround solves for.

  • uknowme

    Wow! At least I got my new Evo before Apple started this new load of BS.

  • Richard Yarrell

    Apple is USELESS plain and simple. All apple users are also useless. Piss on all apple products….

    • Jason

      Useless? I love my androids, but reality is reality. Apple stock has made me more money than you’ll ever see since I bought 3500 shares in early September, 2001 for less than $8/ share. AAPL has been floating around $600+ per share. Useless? They made me rich. I don’t like some of their practices, but you very on winning teams, not your favorite teams, at least intelligent people do who like to win.

    • redraider133

      Apple isn’t useless. Being a fan of android and tech in general if it wasn’t for apple the mobile phones and os would look very different than they do and most likely wouldn’t have had such quick and tremendous advances. Competition brings innovation and in the end benefits consumers.

    • jonathan3579

      Just when I think you can’t stoop any lower Dick, you go on and do it. Apple is not for everyone. I don’t like or use their products but they are far from useless. If we are going to dive into the world of uselessness then let’s go ahead and throw your sorry ass in there. (That is there not their.) You have NEVER contributed anything remotely useful to this blog or any other one. If Apple and it’s users are useless, you’re (Here again, it’s you’re not your.) on the wrong ship because people don’t get more useless than you.

  • Jay555

    You know as much as I hate Apple, I have to say that I’m beginning to hate HTC almost as much. Mainly because it seems like HTC is ran by a bunch of spineless wimps who not only cave in to whatever dumb demands the carriers make like oh, I don’t know, locking the bootloader or completely changing the look or name of the phone. But now it seems like HTC’s lawyers are also spineless or just really inept. If they can’t go before a judge and prove that this patent is BS based on prior art then what good are they? At this point I say screw Apple and HTC, I’m going with Samsung, at least they have the balls to not let themselves be pushed around by Apple or the carriers. And I’m sure we won’t see the SIII get held hostage by Customs like the One X was.

  • hatemonger

    Why aren’t the people at these big companies killed? I could pay 100 bums, 200$ total ($2 each) and ransack the whole company with meth-loaded zombies, looking for faces to eat.

    really, people at apple, just go fucking kill yourselves.

  • Major PITA

    Apple seems to have the impression that people would by their products were it not for those dirty rotten patent infringers. After watching this kind of BS for the last couple years I’d go with ANY other phone before putting even a penny into Apples pockets. Apple is becoming the poster child of ugly corporate practices.

    • AppleFUD

      I thought the same thing – does apple really think everyone will buy an iPhone if they can block all other competitors? Maybe some more will but I’m sure there will be a lot who will become starch anti-apple advocates just because they don’t have a choice. MS extorts $$ from nearly every Android OEM but at least I still have a choice between Android & WP7.

  • Adam

    i like apple. i use a MacBook, and it is awesome. But this is horrible. Come on, Apple. You can’t win this one. and now you look like a jerkwad.

  • glennw

    F*** Apple and its lawyers. F*** them up their stupid a**es.

  • Raj

    Yes, cause the ITC are/is Apple’s bitch(es).

  • Steve

    This patent crap is getting really silly. It is a huge waste of time for everyone involved. Its time that the courts say enough and slap any company with a hefty fine when they try to bring these things to court. Whats next? Apple is going to patent the “breathing process” and then sue every creature on the planet for patent infringement. Holy crap. The patents office needs to really look at these things and deny patents to things that have no technical bearing on a product at all. I mean come on, they issued a patent to Apple for the slide lock screen. seriously? It is demonstrated that another operating system actually created the slide lock first. Funny how quickly that one disappeared once that video of Neonode N1m and its slide lock screen surfaced. This is becoming a tit for tat game where a manufacturer applies for a patent on anything they think can possibly be used by another product so they can nickle and dime said products for more profits. Its rediclues and it only hurts the consumer because the manufacturers have to adjust their prices to compensate for the licensing of a patent, and it wastes the courts time. Its funny how Apple didnt pursue a patent infringement case based on Siri….Gee, I wonder why…oops, looks like Android had that voice activated personal assistant …what, 2 years ago… I wonder why they dont sue Apple for it.

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  • Major PITA

    OK, we all know what Apple is. What really ticks me off are the douchenozzles that are granting these types of patents to Apple, I’d really like to see some of their heads on sticks.

    • AppleFUD

      LOL. . .

      Yep. . . I agree with you however, the government sees the patent office as a cash cow these days. They really don’t care if the patent is valid or not, only that they get more money, thus the courts are left to correct the mess. Hopefully more Judges like Posner will start dismissing these BS cases with prejudice before they even get going.

  • NU

    I wonder why Apple even cares. HTC’s sales are extremely low right now. Even when they lie to people about the superiority vs. Samsung.

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      HTC has the most Android market share in the U.S.

      Apple is trying to use this patent against as many Android OEMs as possible since this is a feature built into Android, not something specific to HTC devices.

  • SithLordMe
    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      That’s ridiculous. If Apple and Microsoft choose not to license the patent, they should be subject to any and all rulings handed down by the ITC.

  • finndogg

    When will the stupidity stop, man I can’t stand Apple. Piss on them

  • Daniel Smedegaard Buus

    Apple will have to stop patent trolling. Stuff like this makes me regret having bought an Air, and lets me know never to ever buy anything Apple again.

    Here’s to wishing they crash and burn, bloodily. Pathetic.