If you were hoping to get your hands on a shiny new HTC One X or EVO 4G LTE in the United States, you’re currently out of luck: the ITC has impounded shipments of both phones in US customs. HTC confirmed that this was due to a an ITC ruling, which can only be Apple’s successful lobbying of the commission based on its linking software patent. It’s been confirmed that both phones work around the feature in question.

HTC had already said that its software works around Apple’s petty software patent, which covers how a smartphone reacts to contextual links for email addresses and phone numbers. By default both phones (and other US HTC phones which have been updated) don’t link to the email or dialer applications automatically. There is a settings menu in the US version of the software that allows you to manually assign apps to contextual links, similar to the way that desktop browsers handle links meant for outside programs.

So why exactly is the International Trade Commission holding up two major devices? Wouldn’t that seem to be a pretty fruitless waste of everyone’s time, and a ridiculous block on the free market? You tell us: why is it that a case that seemed to be over and done with reignited just as the would-be flagships on two major networks are coming out? Why is it that T-Mobile’s One S, a phone that’s similar in almost every software respect to the One X and the EVO 4G LTE, spared the same scrutiny? Could it be that both the One X and the EVO 4G LTE are competing directly against the iPhone 4S in the middle of its product cycle, months before it’s due for an upgrade, whereas the One S is running on a network with no Apple products at all?

It’s unclear whether the ITC knew about HTC’s changes to the US versions of its software before impounding the phones in question, and coincidentally completely ruining the launch of the HTC EVO 4G LTE. Likewise it’s hard to see what they could find to complain about once they start their investigation. Should they find cause for continued delay, HTC will likely send out another update that simply removes contextual linking entirely.

Welcome to the technological future, folks, where one company’s bull-headed stubbornness and arrogance is cause for punishing consumers across an entire country. Remember: “good artists copy, great artists steal.”

[via SlashGear]

  • Apple_sux

    Once again Apple is showing the world who they really are. They constantly use these evil tactics to try to stay ahead. They will take everyone to court and sue like crazy if they can put a dent on other manufacturers’ plans. I HATE APPLE!!!! That’s why I’m switching to Android and getting rid of this pathetic iPhone.

    • alex2792

      Or maybe the copycats should’ve patented all of these “obvious” ideas prior to Apple. HTC’S has been making cellphones for years prior to the iPhone launch, so they had plenty of time to innovate with a game changing product.

  • Ben

    Well put! HTC wouldn’t have been dumb enough to not check with their lawyers before sending out these phones. It’s not like their trying to smuggle in coke. Everyone knows that their workaround is good enough to pass, but Apple is being a douche and using this opportunity to handicap HTC. Apple knows that they have no leg to stand on, but they want to delay it just enough to get people to cancel orders. They have always been a&&holes to the world and they’re lucky to be alive with the Ipod saving their butts. They sued Microsoft back in the day for “stealing” the mouse idea from them; when they stole the mouse idea from Xerox!!! They’re like the bratty kid in the class that always complains about everyone else, when they’re the one that sucks. 

  • Once again proving why the patent system is broken. There is a huge difference in protecting your intellectual property and using that intellectual property as a weapon to BAN your competition. I can’t believe any judge would allow any of these cases against Apple’s competition to be called legitimately protecting their IP. Look up the meaning of FRAND, Fair Reasonable and Non Discriminatory, FRAND laws are supposed to protect companies from being sued like crazy over petty patent claims like this because the company that owns a particular patent that is so vague in its meaning is supposed to be shared at a fair and reasonable price among the community, not used as a tool to BAN. It’s so funny how in Europe Apple claims it is not in violation of 4G patents owned by Motorola because those are FRAND but Motorola is in violation of Apple because Motorola clicks on a link??? Apple is a big freaking hypocrite and somebody needs to take them off their high horse soon before they make everything worse for all of us. At least Apple doesn’t produce chairs because then the rest of us would be forced to sit on 3 or 5 legs….

    As a follow up I know Apple and Samsung are being forced by a judge to sit in a room this coming Monday and work out their differences in that room and not in court. Hopefully something good comes from this and Apple gets taken down a peg…

    • alex2792

      Uh, FRAND covers essential patents and there’s nothing essential about Apple’s patent evidenced by the fact that non-infringing cell phones have been produced for years. Maybe if Google wasn’t so cavalier about disregarding numerous IPs their OEMs wouldn’t be facing numerous bans.

  • Watson1216

    I own both apple product and HTC, I think it’s unfair the way Apple is responding to the problem. The only people that are being hurt by Apple actions are the consumers. I am currently waiting for my HTC EVO 4g LTE that I preorder on Monday and I am Angry that I will not have it in my hand this weekend.

    • Robin Moore

      I am angry as well!

  • Kyle Wright1985

    Apple is just scared

  • Brian walters

    small correction apple didn’t develop the code in question for the iPhone the did in 96 for their computer internet bowers to handle what basicly comes down to a hyperlink. it is sad hen a company like apple show just how handle being out classed by paying off the ITC that that have donated millions to stop a rival company from getting the upper hand in the market . not as if you can ever count on our president to step in apple has donated just as much and more to his reelction funds so they can do no wrong in his eyes