Apple phone number display patent slaps HTC, Android 1.6 to 2.2

Don't believe the "knockout blow in patent war" type headlines: Apple won a rather minor patent victory against older versions of Android on HTC phones.

The patent concerned Apple's ability to discern phone numbers in unstructured documents and make the phone number clickable to dial. HTC phones running Android versions 1.6 to 2.2 will be banned from import starting in April 2012, although refurbished phones can be imported for warranty replacements until the end of 2013.

This could cause Android some trouble in further trials if a patent abuse pattern emerges. It will take Android developers a little time to work around the patent, or eliminate the feature. Apple will almost certainly not settle for money, because they're sitting on a ton of cash, and prefer to stop Android products in the market. Apple will have to file separate suits against other phone hardware makers and Android versions to take further advantage of this patent win.


This is not an invention or even an innovation by any stretch of the imagination. There are hundreds of programmers who write such clever algorithms everyday.

agx2010 on

And here I was, thinking this behavior was natural, and indeed present in my Programmers Notepad, written around 1998... Software patents are indeed magical.

~mico on

Luckily that patents only involve outdated Android devices, 1.6 to 2.2 (which are like 2 years old minimum) so does not involve any new devices.

Stephan Shade on

My trusty 6310i could pick phone numbers out of SMS messages and give the option to call that number in circa 2002. The only winners here, as usual, are the bottom feeders^W^W lawyers.

When will this software patent nonsense stop?

Anomalous Cowturd on

Good for Apple

Dear Droid Users, U mad? Lol Love, This guy

dallaslib on

Apple should be able to protect its patents and OS. Why all the haters?

Chris Mullen on

Fight on, Android and HTC

Do a software patch to work around the patent and release it in March and the "win" becomes a non-event.

kaplooie on

Didn’t RIM allow this long before the iPhone even existed?

Brendan Stennett on

FAIL for HTC's lawyers for not getting this one thrown out.

P. Lee on

This is part of the patent fight that Steve Jobs promised to fight until his "last dying breath." So far, all that's happened is Android users will be updated to a changed OS, thanks to the patent court.

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