The New York Times
Monday, December 19, 2011 -- 6:20 PM EST
Apple Wins Partial Victory on Patent Claim Over Android Features
A federal agency ruled on Monday that a set of important features commonly found in smartphones are protected by an Apple patent, a decision that could force changes in the way Google's Android phones function.
The ruling, by the United States International Trade Commission, can be appealed. But it is one of the most significant so far in a growing array of closely watched patent battles being waged around the globe by nearly all of the major players in the mobile industry.
The ruling was only a partial victory for Apple because the commission overruled an earlier decision in Apple's favor in the case, involving a patent related to how software is organized internally on mobile devices. It would have been harder for the defendant in the case — HTC, one of the world's largest makers of smartphones that run the Android system — to adapt its devices to avoid infringing that patent, legal experts said.
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