Apple Picks a Fight With HTC

HTC is facing indefinite import delays at U.S. Customs for the next stock of its One X and Evo 4G LTE phones as authorities investigate potential infringement of an Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) patent. Apple won a narrow victory in a patent lawsuit in December over the technology used in the phones.

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“The US availability of the HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE has been delayed due to a standard U.S. Customs review of shipments that is required after an ITC exclusion order,” HTC said in a statement. “We believe we are in compliance with the ruling and HTC is working closely with Customs to secure approval. The HTC One X and HTC Evo 4G LTE have been received enthusiastically by customers and we appreciate their patience as we work to get these products into their hands as soon as possible.”

The investigation is the result of an International Trade Commission injunction won by Apple on HTC devices featuring software that adds a click-to-call feature by automatically creating links for phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Apple won the ruling in December, but the ban was delayed so the Taiwan company could create a workaround solution for its Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android phones. It came into effect on April 19. HTC had said then that since the feature was a “small UI experience,” it could remove it from its US-bound devices. Authorities are now said to be reviewing the phones.

AT&T, which has carried the One X model since May, said on its website that the phone was “out of stock.” The launch of the Evo 4G LTE by Sprint, scheduled for Friday, will now be delayed.

HTC shares in Taiwan fell more than 6 percent on Wednesday after the report, though the company said it was keeping its second quarter revenue guidance unchanged at 105 billion Taiwan dollars, or $3.5 billion.

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