Shiny gadget maker and current legal belligerent Apple has won a narrow victory over competitor HTC in a case before the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) according to a notice by the body. HTC now faces a ban on the import of their Android smartphones into the US commencing on April 19th 2012.
The patent in question relates to “data tapping” – the process in which iOS works out that a certain arrangement of numbers in an email is a phone number and lets you tap the number to call or add it to your address-book, or works out text with an @ symbol is an email, and lets you send an email to it in a single click. This victory does not, therefore, apply to all HTC smartphones – just those the perform the function described in the way outlined in the patent claim.
Apple’s original claim was over 10 patents, but these were whittled down to a single limited victory over this data tapping patent. This victory does, however, give Apple a successful claim with which to threaten other Android smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung or Motorola.
Now I don’t know the intricacies of the patent in question, but have webmail applications such as GMail not been doing a very similar thing for years by turning typed email addresses into mailto links, and typed URLs into clickable links?
[via FOSS Patents]