Despite HTC's insistence that legal battles with Apple wouldn't affect consumers, the Taiwanese company's two newest Android smartphones, the HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE, have been blocked from entering the country by US Customs.
Apple won a patent suit against HTC back in December, when the U.S. International Trade Commission issued a limited exclusion order against HTC and two of its subsidiaries.
HTC One X review
The ITC determined that a function allowing users to make calls or send emails simply by tapping a phone number or email address within text was in violation of Apple's patents.
HTC was ordered to alter the functionality by April 19 of this year.
"Many lawsuits nowadays are results of being successful; it's part of the business," HTC CEO Peter Chou said at the time. "We will not bring the company to a dangerous position."
An easy solution
HTC reported that they successfully removed the infringing technology from the HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE, so it's unknown exactly why these specific phones were blocked at Customs.
But an HTC spokesperson issued a statement to TechRadar assuring that the delay comes as no surprise.
"The U.S. 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," 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 HTC One X went on sale through AT&T earlier this month, and Sprint was slated to release the EVO 4G LTE on May 18.
But the phones could be sent back to the manufacturer if Customs determines that they're in violation of the ITC's December decision.
A chilling effect
If these shipments of the HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE are denied entry to the U.S. it could spell big trouble for Android.
For years companies like Apple, Samsung, HTC, and Google have thrown legal disputes at one another as if just to see what sticks. But the suits are usually settled and have rarely affected consumers so far in a tangible way.
HTC is already paying licensing fees to Microsoft due to a previous suit regarding a different part of Android's functionality.
But now that two of HTC's flagship Android devices have been delayed in getting to market, consumers will begin to feel the chilling effects of these companies' legal battles.
And if Android continues to lose face in the tech industry, manufacturers could decide to jump ship to another OS.
Hopefully, HTC's confidence is well-founded and the HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE make their way to store shelves soon.
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