Can you remember a more litigious period in tech history? We sure can’t, and things sure got a lot more interesting when Google announced yesterday its plans to acquire Motorola Mobility, no doubt fueled by its desire to shore up its anemic patent portfolio and to better defend its Android OS.
On another Android related front, the legal tussle between HTC and Apple rages on. HTC has already been on the losing end of an ITC ruling where a Judge there said that HTC’s smartphones infringe two of Apple’s patents. And just last week, the ITC agreed to investigate yet another one of Apple’s complaints against HTC.
In light of their legal predicament, HTC has seemingly appeared more open to striking a licensing deal with Apple but that’s not exactly what Apple is aiming for. First of all, Apple wants to slow down the growth of Android and work to establish as much iOS marketshare as possible. The last thing Apple needs is a small revenue stream from HTC via a licensing agreement. That said, a royalty payment scheme is not Apple’s ultimate objective.
Now HTC also has a thin patent portfolio (see below) – which is in part why Apple went after them – but they can undoubtedly bolster their position if they can assert their own patents against Apple.
And that’s exactly what they’re doing – or at least trying to do anyways.
The Taiwanese based company today filed suit against Apple in the U.S. District Court in Delaware alleging that Apple’s line of iOS products contain patented technologies owned by HTC. Further, HTC alleges that the infringement is willful and is subsequently seeking triple damages along with other remedies.
HTC is suing over three patents and they are:
Nilay Patel notes that the first two of these patents were obtained by HTC when they acquired ADC Technologies in April while the third originated from HTC.
You can check out the full complaint here.
Again, HTC’s patent portfolio is decidedly weak, and with Apple already scoring a victory at the HTC, it seems that HTC is scrambling to find any type of patent it can assert against Apple and ideally pressure them into a cross licensing agreement at best or an acceptable royalty payment scheme at worst.
Note that the ITC recently ruled that OS X infringes on two image compression patents from S3, which was recently acquired by HTC. The judge’s ruling stated that Macs with Nvidia GPUs have an implied license to S3’s patents so that ruling will likely have a negligible affect on Apple’s claims against HTC.
As for the recent claims, we’ll take a deep dive into the complaint soon and see exactly what HTC is claiming, but the fact that they brought this motion so late in the game seems to indicate that they’re grasping at straws at this point.