Apple is looking to sharpen the teeth on a recent import ban it secured from the International Trade Commission (ITC) against HTC smartphones, according to an appeal filing discovered Wednesday by Florian Mueller. The appeal, filed with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), appears to seek to broaden the scope of the ITC’s ruling by getting at least one other patent included, which could in theory make an import ban harder for HTC to work around.
The ITC’s initial ruling, which was handed downDec. 19, found HTC devices running Android infringed on an Apple patent related to how data in notes and other documents, including emails and phone numbers, are automatically linked to other relevant external apps. HTC quickly responded to the decision, saying it had a software tweak in place that would allow it to avoid the ban entirely.
The specifics of Apple’s appeal, which FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller discovered after Apple referenced it in a filing related to its ongoing case against Motorola, seems to involve U.S. patent No. 6,343,262, which details “a real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data.” Mueller has described it as one that’s likely “extremely hard to work around.” The ITC initially denied that patent’s inclusion in its import ban, but in Apple’s filing in the Motorola case Tuesday, it seems likely Apple is trying to get it included in the scope of the decision via the appeal. Mueller suggests the appeal may also address other issues, including additional patents and the terms of the ban.
Mueller says ITC decisions appealed to the CAFC take some time to resolve, so it might be a while before we see any ruling. One thing is certain however; Apple’s nearly $100 billion cash pile means it’s likely in no real rush to settle its ongoing legal disputes.