HTC still has a chance after losing ITC ruling to Apple

Apple secured another victory over an Android mobile OEM foe, but there might not be a loser in this battle after all if HTC does its homework.

Apple has won another battle over patent infringement on mobile devices. This time the loser is HTC, but there may be away for this mobile device manufacturer to get around the mess.

According to the latest ruling from the United States International Trade Commission, HTC infringes upon "data tapping patents," which covers platforms that takes formatted data to basic documents for sharing and integrating that data on other applications.

Thus, the ITC has ruled in favor of banning HTC-made Android products that include this feature. But if that feature is dropped or revamped in some way, then the ban doesn't really do anything for Apple.

FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller explains that there is some wiggle room for both HTC and Google here if they act quickly:

If Google can implement this popular feature, which users of modern-day smartphones really expect, without infringing on the two patent claims found infringed, this import ban won't have any effect whatsoever.

Otherwise HTC will have to remove this feature, which would put HTC at a competitive disadvantage as compared to other smartphone makers, including other Android device makers.

If/until that happens, the ITC is waiting until April 19, 2012 to instill the ban in order to provide a transition period for U.S. carriers.

After that, HTC customers won't be abandoned entirely as the ITC is allowing HTC to import refurbished devices for serving as replacements under warranty or insurance until December 19, 2013.