Last week the US Customs and Border
Protection, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, created some online controversy by locking down all
HTC EVO 4G LTE and HTC One X mobile devices as the agency investigates if the devices are still breaking Apple
The US Customs investigation dates back to an
order by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) last December that found HTC guilty of violating Apple patent
5946647 - a patent related to
detecting data items within otherwise unformatted content. However, it appears
that the patent wars have just started.
In the past few
days tech savvy Twitter users have been airing out their frustration with
Customs and Border Protection, creating much buzz around the otherwise unnoticed agency. Campaigns
were started on Twitter using the hashtags #FreemyEVO and #CBPevo, encouraging agency
to release the phones.
Mentions to the
US Customs Twitter handle, @CustomsBorder, were up 9,900% yesterday over
Thursday because of the lock down, skyrocketing from 26 mentions to 2,600.
Unfortunately for @CustomsBorder, most of the mentions express frustration with
the agency versus praise.
Twitter user @anthony_garcia
encouraged the CBP to give an official response, writing “@CustomsBorder please address what's going on with @Sprint's #EVO shipment waiting for inspection! Major
disruption of commerce. #CBPevo”
Others used emotional pleas to try and
reason with @CustomsBorder, with @ShrinkingNinja proclaiming, “@CustomsBorder When you hold my #EVO4GLTE that my kids bought me for Mother's Day you
make them sad too. #CBPevo”
JGatSprint posted Wednesday that individuals who have purchased the EVO 4G LTE
may cancel their orders by calling 866-789-8292, but noted “HTC Evo 4G LTE is a great device worth waiting for, and we
hope that our customers who preordered are able to be patient.”
HTC officially stated
that they believe they are in compliance with the ruling, and that the company “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.”
The phones will
be released into the US when Customs approves that the phones no longer
infringe on Apple technology, as HTC and Sprint claim they no longer do. The
agency has yet to release its own statement on the matter.
What does this mean for Customs and Border Protection? Some might invoke the old adage that says that “all press is good press."
Unfortunately, that is not usually true for the feds when it comes to social media, and our analytics seem to bear that out. As always, we wonder whether or not the agency’s public affairs office is paying
Story by Corey
Edited by Richard Hartman