FORTUNE -- In what is believed to be the first tangible effect of the two-year-old proxy war Apple (AAPL) has waged against Google (GOOG) though the makers of Android phones, U.S. Customs officials have delayed shipment of two of HTC newest models pending inspection.
The delay is indefinite, but may turn out to be brief.
In December Apple won a narrow victory over the Taiwanese manufacturer of smartphones and tablets when the International Trade Commission found that some earlier HTC phones had violated a single Apple patent provision covering the way smartphones make sense of unstructured data, such as e-mails. (See: Apple wins limited ruling in important Android patent case.)
The ITC delayed its mandatory exclusion order until May 19 to give HTC time to devise a workaround. In a statement issued Tuesday, HTC said it believed the new phones -- the HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE -- are in compliance with the ruling, and that it is working with U.S. Customs officials to secure their release.
Nonetheless, HTC shares fell more than 6% in the Asian markets on the news.
HTC, you may recall, was the first maker of Android phones that Apple took to court. The suit was filed on March 2, 2010, and in an oft-quoted statement, Steve Jobs threw down the gauntlet:
"We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We've decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."
HTC was forced to drop one feature. Motorola may have to drop another. More to come.
Many commentators took at face value HTC's declaration of "an actual victory" after the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that it had infringed Apple's (AAPL) patent on software that allowed a user to dial a number embedded in an e-mail simply by clicking on it. That particular feature was only one of 10 patents Apple MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 23, 2011 6:58 AM ET
Shares of HTC are down sharply in advance of a ruling on a key Apple patent suit
HTC shipped more than 5.7 million smartphones to the U.S. last quarter, according to Canalys, beating out Samsung and Apple to become the country's leading smartphone vendor.
So there's a lot at stake for the giant Taiwanese phone maker -- and indeed for the manufacturers of all Google (GOOG) Android phones -- in the ruling MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 5, 2011 7:41 AM ET
Android's purveyor crossed a line when it sold arms to be used against Apple
U.S. patent No. 6,473,006, "a method and apparatus for zoomed display of characters entered from a telephone keypad," has a long and tangled history.
It was originally filed, according to FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller, by a company called Phone-com, which assigned it to Openwave, which sold it to Purple Labs, which sold it to Myriad, which sold it to MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 8, 2011 10:58 AM ET
Steve Jobs claimed that Google "stole" this Apple innovation. Last week, the ITC agreed.
When an iPhone receives a message that contains a phone number or an address -- e-mail, Web or street -- those bits of data are automatically highlighted, underlined and turned into clickable links.
Click on the phone number, and the iPhone asks if you want to dial it. Click on the Web address, and it opens in Safari. MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 16, 2011 7:45 AM ET
Apple changes its in-house legal guard. Samsung wants Apple's outside counsels ousted
On the heels of a Reuters report that Apple's (AAPL) chief patent counsel has been replaced by Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) top intellectual properties attorney (something that, according to their LinkedIn profiles, may have happened two months ago), comes a 20 page motion from Samsung asking the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to throw out most, if MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 12, 2011 8:45 AM ET
Told Apple had not violated 5 of its patents, Nokia filed a complaint about 7 more
The strange, prolonged patent dispute between Apple (AAPL) and Nokia (NOK) took another bizarre twist Tuesday.
Four days after an administrative law judge at the International Trade Commission in Washington made an initial determination that Apple was not -- as Nokia claimed -- in violation of five Nokia patents, the Finnish cellphone giant was back in MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 29, 2011 8:28 AM ET
Winning a skirmish at the ITC is not the same as winning a war. Apple vs. Nokia take note.
"Kodak Wins a Round in $1 Billion Apple, RIM Patent Dispute" -- Bloomberg News
Traders were pretty quick to cash in on that headline. Kodak's (EK) battered stock opened Friday at $3.30 a share and jumped nearly 25% to $4.12 in after-hours trading, as if those $1 billion were already in Kodak's pocket.
But MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 26, 2011 6:32 AM ET
But Google's Android now has a quarter of the global smartphone market to Apple's 16.7%
Gartner published its worldwide mobile phone sales estimates overnight Wednesday, nearly two weeks after IDC released its survey. The results, as usual, differ in detail (see explanation below), but the broad picture is the same.
The good news for Apple (AAPL) is that thanks to what Gartner called its "stellar" performance in calendar Q3, Apple has overtaken MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 10, 2010 7:54 AM ET
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