updated 01:45 pm EDT, Fri October 21, 2011
Alternatives exist, ITC finds
The US International Trade Commission has dismissed public interest statements from Google and T-Mobile regarding a possible ban on HTC Android devices, reports say. In July HTC was ruled to be violating two Apple patents. The ITC is now reviewing that decision, and is scheduled to make a final decision on December 6th. The public is regularly invited to make statements on the potential damage of an import ban once a patent violation has been declared.
Google and T-Mobile have argued that a ban would hurt the US job market, and even affect the ability of responders to cope with emergencies. The ITC's Office of Unfair Import Investigations has rejected these statements however, countering that there are alternative devices running Android; it adds that HTC has another alternative in the form of Windows Phone.
The dismissal is expected to have an impact on other Android-related legal battles, including Apple and Microsoft's complaints against Motorola, and Apple's campaign against Samsung. Possibly soon as today, in fact, a federal court will rule on public interest matters as they relate to an Apple motion for a preliminary injunction against four Android-based Samsung devices. Verizon and T-Mobile have submitted briefs in support of Samsung using similar or identical arguments to those just tossed out in the HTC affair.
An industry group called the Association for Competitive Technology is shortly expected to submit a public interest statement in support of Apple, having been granted an extension to Monday by the ITC. ACT attacks Google's statements as using "sweeping contentions regarding terms of competition and other characteristics of the 'US mobile ecosystem'," and claims that "the Commission should benefit from a robust exchange of views based on the complete universe of arguments proffered." ACT's major sponsors though are eBay, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, and Verisign; while Intel cooperates with Google, eBay has accused Google of stealing trade secrets, and both Microsoft and Oracle have patent claims against Android.