HTC One X And Evo 4G LTE Shipment Delayed by US Customs Over Patent Dispute With Apple

The Verge reports that U.S. Customs officials have delayed shipments of HTC’s One X and Evo 4G LTE Android-based smartphones into U.S. to investigate if they still infringe on Apple’s patents.

Here’s some background. Back in March 2011, Apple had filed a lawsuit against HTC alleging that the Taiwan based handset manufacturer has infringed on nearly 20 of Apple’s proprietary inventions relating to the iPhone’s UI, architecture and hardware.

Apple had also filed a second lawsuit in July 2011, claiming infringement of 5 more patents.

US International Trade Commission (ITC) had found HTC guilty of infringing on Apple patents and had banned some HTC’s Android-based smartphones in the US in December 2011.

At that time HTC had responded that they would remove the infringing feature to avoid the ban. The U.S. Custom officials have delayed the shipment to investigate if HTC’s new smartphones still infringe on Apple’s patents. The Verge reports:

We’ve learned today that the One X and Evo 4G LTE are indefinitely delayed at Customs as the agency investigates patent issues with Apple, and sources have further confirmed that some shipments are indeed being held back. The One X is also currently out of stock at AT&T’s online store and at most AT&T retail stores we’ve called — and few had any information on when more units would arrive.

HTC has issued a statement on the situation:

The US 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. 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.

HTC was expected to launch HTC EVO 4G LTE on Sprint’s network on Friday, May 18th, so it looks like they will have to delay it.