Apple has been ordered into talks with HTC to settle a patent dispute in the US – a move that closely echoes a similar court order that will see the company discuss its differences with Samsung early next week.
The Foss Patents blog reports that “the United States District for the District of Delaware ordered the lawyers as well unspecified decision makers of Apple and HTC to meet in Delaware on August 28, 2012, to discuss a possible settlement. The talks will be moderated by Magistrate Judge Sherry R. Fallon.”
The ruling comes close on the heels of an incident in which shipments of HTC’s One X and EVO 4G LTE smartphones were delayed for inspection at US customs due to an International Trade Commission (ITC) ban enacted last year.
HTC, understandably, has been angered by the delay. In a statement the company said, “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 dispute centres around Apple’s protection of a ‘data detectors’ patent, according to AppleInsider.
The website says the patent “outlines a technology for automated detection of data such as phone numbers, email addresses and hyperlinks. After the injunction was announced, patent expert Florian Mueller called the patent ‘one of medium value’, while noting that HTC will be at a ‘competitive disadvantage’ without the data detector feature.
“HTC quickly responded late last year that it had already developed a workaround to avoid infringement. That workaround is presumably active in the two devices that are being held up at customs.”