The consumers in the United States, anticipating the release of the HTC One X and Evo 4G LTE smartphones, will have to wait some more for the devices as they have reportedly been delayed at the US customs due to an import ban order by the International Trade Commission (ITC) over a potential Apple patent infringement.
The Verge reported on Tuesday that both HTC One X and Evo 4G LTE will face indefinite delay at the US customs as ITC investigates patent issues with Apple. The sources revealed that some shipments have also been held back. In addition, the HTC One X smartphone is currently out of stock at AT&T's online store and at most AT&T retail stores.
The report said ITC ruled in December last year that HTC was infringing upon an Apple patent, which covers automatically converting things like phone numbers and email addresses into actionable links that open a menu of options. The ban was delayed in a bid to let HTC engineer around Apple's patent claims.
However, the ban went into effect on April 19 and the One X and Evo 4G LTE became the first products to face the import delay, despite HTC's claim that the alleged data tapping was nothing but a small UI experience, which would be removed entirely from its US Android devices.
HTC's official statement on the matter reads like this:
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. 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.
According to The Verge, although the ITC order was issued even before the announcement of the HTC One X at the Mobile World Congress, it was open-ended enough to block importation of any HTC Android device. The order banned, in a broader sense, the importation of HTC personal data and mobile communications devices running Android operating system that infringe the '647 patent.
It's the Customs and Border Protection, which is in charge of executing the order and, as the report noted, it has the power to handle things in any way it wants. On top of that, the final enforcement instructions delivered by Customs to its officers are totally classified - they're even excluded from Freedom of Information Act requests, said the report.