Do not panic. ITC (International Trades Commission) will apply ban on HTC starting April 2012 which means that there is enough time for HTC to either strike a deal with Apple or to find a workaround.
Patent: 5946647, issued in 1999. The patent is about a device that scans computer text for data and turns that data into a link to let a user to perform an operation. An example of this is: smartphone scanning an sms or a document or a html page, finding phone number, coverting it into a link and letting the user to sms or call on clicking the link.
Ban: HTC should not sell their devices from April 19th, 2012 and they will be allowed to import refurbished products to replace devices sent to RMA till December 19 2013.
Now, ITC will be sending this decision to desk of the president. President will have 60 days to overturn the decision. HTC on the other hand has issued a statement that they are already working to remove this feature soon from their devices.
Statement from HTC:
We are gratified that the Commission affirmed the judge's initial determination on the ‘721 and ‘983 patents, and reversed its decision on the ‘263 patent and partially on the ‘647 patent. 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.Statement from Apple:
We think competition is healthy but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.
However right Apple is, the above statement doesn't feel right at all, given the way that they copied the notification bar from Android. Anyways, patents are patents and they should be respected. That's the law.