“Apple’s patent dispute with HTC reached a new level today with word that U.S. imports of HTC phones are being delayed by Customs officials,” Steven Musil reports for CNET.

“The One X and Evo 4G LTE are being delayed indefinitely by U.S. Customs officials over unresolved patent infringement issues with Apple, HTC said,” Musil reports. “HTC was dealt a setback last December when the International Trade Commission, a federal agency with the power to enforce bans on products shipping to the U.S., ruled that HTC infringed on Apple’s patent for data detection. The process allows a mobile device to recognize things like e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and addresses in text and automatically move them to a calendar, dialer, or mapping application.”

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Clare Jim reports for Reuters, “Shares in HTC tumbled more than 6 percent after it said shipments of the phones were being held up by U.S. customs officials.”

“Some shipments of the One X model had reached the U.S. before the ban date, enabling the model’s launch, but further shipments are being held up, an HTC official in Taipei said,” Jim reports. “‘It’s really hard to tell how much longer the phones will be held up at the customs because the review has already taken a month,’ said Bonnie Chang, an analyst of Yuanta Securities. ‘Previously, it was expected that general exclusion order from the patent infringement referred to only old models from HTC,’ Goldman Sachs said in a trading note to clients seen by Reuters. ‘However, the latest news suggest otherwise with all models (new and old) potentially at risk.'”

Jim reports, “It said the U.S. market was expected to account for 15-20 percent of HTC’s second-quarter shipments, and this delay might hit the company’s earnings this quarter and possibly in the third quarter, depending on how quickly HTC could resolve the issue.”

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MacDailyNews Take: Nice, but ticky-tack. We have to wonder, will the end total of punishments ever really fit the crime?

Related article:
Steve Jobs: ‘I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product; I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this’ – October 20, 2011