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Sprint to start shipping HTC's Evo 4G LTE on Thursday

Carrier's announcement ends week-long limbo for the device, which was held up by U.S. Customs over an Apple patent spat.

Now playing: Watch this: Sprint's new HTC Evo 4G LTE

After a week-long delay caused by a patent spat with Apple, HTC's Evo 4G LTE will finally begin shipping to Sprint customers later this week.

The carrier made the announcement on a company blog this afternoon:

Customers who preordered HTC EVO 4G LTE...Your wait is almost over! Sprint expects to begin shipping HTC EVO 4G LTE for arrival on or around Thursday, May 24 to customers who pre-ordered the device online from Sprint. We will provide details on the full national launch as soon as possible.

The new smartphone, along with the One X, have been in limbo for the past week since HTC announced that imports of the devices were being delayed indefinitely by U.S. Customs officials over unresolved patent infringement issues with Apple. The delay stems from a December ruling by the International Trade Commission, a federal agency with the power to enforce bans on products shipping to the U.S.

The ITC ruled that HTC infringed on Apple's patent for data detection, which allows a mobile device to recognize items like e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and addresses in text and automatically move them to a calendar, dialer, or mapping application. The quasi-judicial body said in its ruling that it would impose an import ban on some of HTC's products if the feature wasn't removed by April 19, 2012. Immediately after that ruling, HTC announced it would soon remove the feature from "all of our phones."

The Taiwan handset maker said yesterday that its phones were completing the U.S. Customs inspections and were slowly making their way into the United States.