Apple Wins Small Victory In Patent Battle Against Android Smartphones

There are so many patent battles going on around the globe between Apple and various smartphone companies, it can be hard to keep track of all the suits and countersuits. In one small but important battle decided recently, Apple has come out on top of HTC, in a ruling that could also affect the way Google’s Android operating system works.

The New York Times says the United States International Trade Commission ruled yesterday that certain technology in use on other smartphones, namely HTC in this case, is protected by an Apple patent.

The technology involved allows a user to tap your finger once on a phone number written in an email or text message to call it, or to touch a date and schedule a calendar appointment. HTC says they will adapt their features to comply with the ruling, calling the components “small” parts of the user experience.

While Apple won this bout, the commission also overruled another decision that they had won, with a patent that deals with how software is organized on phones. That one, experts say, would’ve been a big bite for HTC to swallow in changing its devices.

“It’s an important victory for Apple, but it’s just one of many battles,” said Alexander Poltorak, chief executive of the General Patent Corporation, an intellectual property strategy firm, adding that the ruling will pressure other Android phone makers to license the technology from Apple or make changes to avoid patent infringement issues.

HTC is prohibited from releasing any phones with such technology as of April 19, but the larger picture is still a very even battleground between Apple and Google. Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs was intent on fighting to destroy Google’s Android, which he saw as stolen technology.

Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, told the NYT, “We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”

U.S. Backs Apple in Patent Ruling That Hits Google [New York Times]