The US International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in favour of one of four patents Apple said it believed HTC was infringing with its handsets that run Google's Android operating system. The patent covers technology used that allows users to press a phone number to dial it directly, or click other types of data such as an email address and have an action take place.
As a result, any HTC device that uses this technology will be banned from sale in the US from April 19, 2012.
"We are very pleased with the determination and we respect it. However, the '647 patent is a small UI experience and HTC will completely remove it from all of our phones soon," Grace Lei, HTC's general counsel, said.
Apple filed a complaint with the ITC in April this year which originally accused HTC of infringing ten of its patents. However, six were later dropped from the case. In July, the ITC initially ruled HTC was infringing two of the patents with the final ruling being issues for just one of the patents.
Melvin Li, a Hong Kong-based patent agent and counsel consultant at U.S. IP law firm Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesitic PC, told Reuters he expects courts in other jurisdictions such as Canada, Australia and Europe to rule similarly on the patent.
"With this ITC ruling, I think other phone companies are all scratching their heads now as to how to resolve the same technology they are using," Li said.
Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu told Reuters: "We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."
In August this year, HTC countersued Apple in the US, alleging the tech giant was infringing three of it patents. HTC said it was seeking damages and a ban on sale and importation of Apple devices that infringe the patents.