cell-phone.jpgSan Diego – The United States International Trade Commission has promised to investigate Smartphone-maker HTC, for the alleged patent infringement claims made by Apple.  Results from the investigation may prompt a ban on sales of HTC products such as the HTC Flyer, Droid Incredible, Wildfire, and EVO 4G.

“The products at issue in this investigation are hardware and software used in a variety of portable electronic devices, including mobile communication equipment,” an ITC spokesperson said.  “The complainant (Apple) requests that the USITC issue and exclusion order and cease and desist orders.”

Unlike the federal courts, the ITC is authorized to ban imports during the time it is conducting an investigation, while the courts are only able to do so after granting an injunction or if the defendant is found guilty of infringement, which can take years.  In addition to banning imported products to be unloaded at the ports, the ITC can execute a cease and desist letter which would prevent HTC from selling products that have already made it past their port of entry.

The investigation stems from a complaint filed with the ITC by Apple last month, in which it claims that HTC copied Apple’s hardware and software.  The ITC seemed to agree with the allegations, concluding that HTC may have infringed on two Apple’s patents.  The ITC has agreed to set a target date for completing the investigation within 45 days.

The patent battle between Apple and HTC heated up in March 2010, when the Cupertino, Ca-based Apple sued HTC in a California District Court for twenty instances of patent infringement, all connected to various features of the iPhone.

Apple has a patent infringement complaint against another Android-maker, Samsung, which the ITC has agreed to pursue as well.