It’s no secret that Apple are out for blood when it comes to the big Android partners, HTC, Samsung and Motorola. Apple are going after Android the only way the flawed US Patent System will let them – by going after Android’s big partners. This isn’t exactly what you’d call fair play but then again, from a company that is quite obviously anti-competitive like Apple you wouldn’t expect anything less, now would you?
After their recent big win against Samsung in court I’m sure their Legal Team probably fancies themselves as All-Stars when it comes to this sort of thing however, it looks like they won’t be having the same sort of luck when it comes to their case against HTC. The Taiwanese company have accused Apple of infringing on their IP when it comes to Network Transmissions. These patents that HTC acquired last year from an ADC Telecommunications Inc are what HTC refer to as “critical” to the use of 4G LTE. Apple – unsurprisingly – has a problem with this, that being HTC have apparently bought those patents solely to sue Apple. Firstly – so what if they did?! This coming from a company that buys out lots of tech companies just to absorb them into Apple and have their patent protection, please. Secondly, last year was the year of LTE for HTC and it’s obvious that they’re going to need all the patents etc to do so effectively. The FTC aren’t exactly happy with Apple’s assertions either, with Judge Thomas Pender telling Apple: “I don’t care if they bought these patents to sue you or not. They are a property right. Clear and convincing means something to me. I have to be pretty darn certain a U.S. patent is invalid.”
HTC have done a lot for the industry as a whole and out of these things they’ve had a lot of firsts. They were the first to bring Touchscreens to the market in a mainstream way and they were the first to bring LTE Android devices to the market in the US, thanks to it’s Verizon’s LTE network. To this end I struggle to see Apple’s arrogance in the mobile space, they’re nothing more than the people that put the best things together and not real innovators at all, just a company with a good eye. These patents in question could well fall under FRAND regulations and thus require HTC to license the patents to Apple for a reasonable fee but, it’s unlikely that Apple will see device bans because of this little tussle in court. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not Apple will have to pay HTC damages but either way, I’m sure HTC wouldn’t mind Apple having to pay them a little cash for some patents.