HTC bypasses Apple patent ire for 2012 Android range

HTC has reportedly developed workaround technologies for those systems the ITC deemed infringed on Apple's patents, and will shift its 2012 smartphone range to the new solutions no matter the outcome of its appeal. The company has called on help from component suppliers as well as software and firmware providers, DigiTimes reports, in an attempt to limit liability – should the ITC's preliminary judgement be upheld – to the last generation of handsets developed in 2011.

The company had previously suggested that it was working on alternative options so as to avoid what Apple claimed was its patented technology. "We strongly believe we have alternate solutions in place for the issues raised by Apple" HTC chief counsel Grace Lei said in the aftermath of the ITC ruling, though also insisted that HTC is "highly confident we have a strong case for the ITC appeals process and are fully prepared to defend ourselves using all means possible."

Apple had named the majority of HTC's smartphones in the run up to the MWC 2011 line-up, including the HTC Desire and the EVO 4G. Although only two of the five patents Apple included in the latest suit have been ruled on – No. 5,946,647, a "system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data," and No. 6,343,263, a "real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data" – if the ITC upholds its judgement then HTC could face significant material damages.

However, even if HTC avoids using Apple tech in future, it's unclear how other Android OEMs will react. The patents in question are reasonably fundamental to the way Android currently operates, and in fact the same two are name-checked in Apple's ongoing suit against Motorola. HTC could share its developments with the rest of the Open Handset Alliance, deeming that a stronger Android is better for the platform as a whole, or it could keep the custom solutions to itself and use them as a leveraging point to differentiate its own line-up.