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Monday, July 18, 2011

HTC and Apple Patent Wars: Bitter Fruit!

In the world of the technology giants, intellectual property is probably their most valuable asset. Age old patents, can come back to bite companies in the butt, but it seems to be the bread and butter of the smartphone industry. Microsoft make more off of their licensing agreements with companies like HTC and Samsung devices using Android, than they gain from Windows Phone. So the battle goes on, in the latest patent court ruling in the US, Apple has won a victory over HTC in the patent battle,with the international trade commission ruling HTC is infringing on two Apple patents, although the initial case cited ten in all. So this is an initial ruling, and is yet to go through the appeals process, or indeed be negotiated upon between Apple and HTC, but in a press release HTC states



Taoyuan, Taiwan–July 16, 2011 – HTC received notice of the ITC judge’s initial determination in the Apple vs. HTC case, ITC No. 337-TA-710. Apple originally asserted 10 of its patents against HTC in March 2010, and the judge ruled today that HTC infringed on 2 patents. HTC does not yet have access to the judge’s full opinion and analysis to determine the details of his findings.
“We are highly confident we have a strong case for the ITC appeals process and are fully prepared to defend ourselves using all means possible,” said Grace Lei, General Counsel of HTC. “We strongly believe we have alternate solutions in place for the issues raised by Apple. We look forward to resolving this case, so we can continue creating the most innovative mobile experiences for consumers.”
The Apple patents were filed in 1995, pre the smartphone era altogether, but this goes deeper than the patents, is it a way for Apple to undermine not just the OEM HTC, but all companies shipping Android devices. The patent infringements specifically pertain to Google’s Android operating system, and potentially if this decision is upheld, will affect all OEM’s producing android running hardware. There has been a lot of inflammatory news about this little hitch, claiming that it may destabilise Android as a platform, but I suspect that is a bit of a beat up and sensationalism. This is par for the course and probably an attempt at a little bit of double dipping by Apple. It’s possible that HTC could be blocked from selling devices in the US if Apple can win this case at appeal level, but it’s more likely that Apple and HTC, and other OEM’s, or maybe even Google itself will settle on a monetary agreement, that licences the patents for use by all. While the patents go back to the Apple Newton, and early Pocket PC days, it seems there is still of that tech in use in our modern smartphones. Don’t expect that this will be the last we hear of this issue, with many more law suits to come.

Source : Here

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