There's a new ruling coming from Judge Thomas Pender which is about how to interpret a Nokia patent which was decided in favor of the Finnish manufacturer and could result in the banning of tethering on Android phones. The patent that is involved here is US Patent No. 5,884,190 on a "method for making a data transmission connection from a computer to a mobile communication network for transmission of analog and/or digital signals." This ruling makes it a bit more difficult for HTC to deny that it infringed on Nokia's patent during the ITC trial which is set to start in about two months.
Google has already tried to get the judge to agree to a narrower "scope" of the patent, but that was denied. Google had hoped to be a co-defendant with HTC in the case and protect Android, since tethering is a feature of Android now, and not just skins like Sense and Touchwiz. Instead it'll be only a third-party intervenor. But HTC can escape the charge if it can prove that they did not use one element of the patent in question. One example is, Google was hoping to get the judge to accept its view that the patent required the connection involved to be conected to both analog and digital equipment at the same time. Which is something that is not done in Android tethering.
Instead, the judge said "the device tests which network is available and transmits on that mode, whether the mode is analog or digital." So far all that's been decided is how to interpret this patent. So Android Tethering isn't banned yet. But it could be. If it gets banned, we could see unlimited data return. Since that was the major reason why it was killed by most carriers. But who knows, tethering might be here to stay, because other mobile operating systems use tethering as well, I know iOS does. But Blackberry and Windows Phone 8, I'm not so sure of.
How would Android Tethering getting banned affect you? Let us know in the comments below.