HTC takes Apple to court in the UK

Mon, Aug 1, 2011

Legal, News

Following it’s recent ITC loss to Apple, HTC on July 29th filed a new lawsuit against Apple in the UK. Bloomberg was first to report the news though details regarding the nature of the lawsuit remain unknown.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, asked the ITC in March 2010 to block imports of HTC phones, alleging they infringe patents related to the implementation of operating systems. HTC last month said it would buy S3 Graphics Co. for $300 million to boost the legal protection of its products, less than a week after S3 won an ITC ruling against Apple…

The case is HTC Europe Co. v. Apple Inc., HC11C02703, in the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division (London).

So it looks like HTC is in it for the good fight, despite statements from its CFO that it’s open to a licensing agreement. Of course, this could easily just be legal posturing on HTCs part. We’ll know more when we get our hands on the full complaint.

For what it’s worth, we previously discussed HTC’s acquisition of S3 and its implications for Apple and HTC’s ongoing legal dispute. In short, the S3 patents will likely do nothing to slow down Apple.

But in an interesting twist, note that HTC recently purchased a company called S3. An ITC judge recently ruled that OS X infringes upon two patents held by S3 and now owned by HTC.

“Mac computers have an operating system that infringes two S3 patents related to graphics chips, U.S. International Trade Commission Judge James Gildea said.

Closely held S3, which agreed this month to be bought by Taiwanese smartphone company HTC Corp. (2498), makes image-compression technology. If Gildea’s decision is upheld in a review by the full six-member commission, the ITC can ban U.S. imports of some Macs, which generated $17.5 billion in sales last fiscal year, or 27 percent of Cupertino, California-based Apple’s revenue.

Macs that have Nvidia Corp.  graphics processing units have an implied license to the patents, the judge said.”

As a result, some pundits are claiming that HTC has some new found leverage in its legal battle against Apple. The reality, though, is that the ruling will do little to stave off Apple’s ongoing legal onslaught against HTC’s implementation of Google’s Android OS.

At the very least, Apple could simply equip its Macs with NVIDIA chips and put the kibosh on HTC’s attempts to extract a cross-licensing agreement with Apple. Moreover, it’s only Macintosh computers that were found to be infringing. Apple’s lineup of iPhones, iPods, and iPads are all in the clear.



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