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HTC Delays US Launch Of New Smartphone Due To Customs Review

TAIPEI -(Dow Jones)- HTC Corp. (2498.TW) said Wednesday the launch of a new smartphone in the U.S. will be delayed, due to a customs review required after the International Trade Commission ruled late last year that the Taiwanese handset maker has violated a patent held by Apple Inc. (AAPL) The delay, if prolonged, could be another blow to HTC, which had forecast declines in revenue and profit margins in the second quarter, as the global smartphone market is getting more competitive and is increasing dominated by Apple and Samsung Electronics Co. In an ITC ruling on Dec. 19, the U.S. trade body issued a "limited exclusion order", which became effective April 19, prohibiting the import of HTC phones which carry the technology that it ruled as having infringed an Apple's patent. HTC said: "We believe we have worked around our design and is now in compliance with the ITC ruling, we are cooperating with the U.S. Customs to speed up the review process." HTC added it doesn't know how long the review will take and how shipments will be affected. As shipments are held up by the customs for review, HTC's EVO 4G LTE phones, which will be offered by U.S. operator Sprint, won't hit the shelves on Friday as originally planned. HTC said there may be a shortage in the U.S. in the future for the One series, which have been offered by AT&T Inc. since early April. It said some shipments reached the U.S. ahead of April 19 and were already sold, but any prolonged customs review may deplete its inventories in the U.S. and disrupt future sales. -By Aries Poon, Dow Jones Newswires; 886-2-25022557; aries.poon@dowjones.com

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