Remember that International Trade Commission file levied against HTC phones for violating one of Apple’s software patents? You know, the one that HTC complied with by disabling some of the native functionality of its phones? Yeah, it’s back. An HTC official reported that shipments of the AT&T HTC One X and the HTC EVO 4G LTE are being stopped at US customs, and reports indicate that the inspections are to verify that the phones are complying with the ITC’s ruling in December.
Here’s the statement, straight from HTC:
The US availability of the HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE has been delayed due to a standard U.S. Customs review of shipments that is required after an ITC exclusion order. We believe we are in compliance with the ruling and HTC is working closely with Customs to secure approval. The HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE have been received enthusiastically by customers and we appreciate their patience as we work to get these products into their hands as soon as possible.
The patent in question deals with the way that phone numbers are automatically linked to the phone dialer app on HTC phones. The company worked around this function earlier this year, reporting that their changes complied with the order. It’s unclear why these two new (highly anticipated and high-profile) devices are being singled out, especially when HTC and its American partners import tens of thousands of Android devices every month.
Supply problems haven’t been confirmed, but AT&T’s online store is showing that both the black and white versions of the One X are currently out of stock. There’s no word on what customs is doing, or when they might reach a decision. The worst case scenario is that customs agents decide the phones are in violation. At that point, HTC would probably send out another software update and demonstrate its function, or lack thereof, to the ITC.