HTC Smartphones Blocked by U.S. Customs

Customs delay may mark first enforcement of an import block resulting from a Dec. 2011 trade complaint loss to Apple.

U.S. mobile carrier Sprint said Wednesday it was delaying the introduction of an Android smartphone from Taiwan's HTC (IW 1000/405) after the devices were blocked by U.S. customs.

The move appeared to mark the first enforcement of a win in a trade complaint by Apple (IW 500/14), which claimed Android devices infringed on its patents for one-tap screen commands.

Sprint said in a statement that the phone, known as the HTC EVO 4G LTE "has been delayed" and that "HTC is working to resolve this issue."

But the carrier said, "We can't provide specific timing for product availability at this time."

Sprint said it received a statement from HTC saying two phones being imported into the U.S. were "delayed due to a standard U.S. Customs review."

Apple won an order last December from the U.S. International Trade Commission, which issued a "limited exclusion order" directing that HTC stop bringing offending smartphones into the United States effective on April 19.

Taiwan-based HTC had expected to be able to adapt the Android-powered handsets to sidestep the trouble with the single patent before the deadline.

The move was likely to come at the cost of removing some features smartphone users enjoy and came as part of an ongoing campaign by Apple to cobble the momentum of smartphones powered by Google's Android software.

Apple has accused HTC and other smartphone makers using Google's Android mobile operating system of infringing on Apple-held patents. A separate case is pending against Samsung.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012


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