The patent wars are something that are going to continue on and on for who knows how long. It’s almost as if these days, it matter more how many patents you have in your portfolio over how good your product is. It’s not just Apple that are playing this game either, Microsoft have joined in and while all of Android’s manufacturers are members of the Open Handset Alliance infighting has already begun between Samsung and LG over OLED technology. While this is most prevalent in the mobile space, it’s not limited to it and it’s now gotten to the point that a culture of “patent trolling” has emerged. It’s perhaps not that dramatic but when patents are used more as a currency than anything else, it’s hard to describe it as anything else when you think about it.
When HTC and Apple signed a deal to put an end to their lawsuits it was quite the surprise to us all and something completely unexpected; Apple and HTC have clashed heads more than once in many a courtroom all over the world. HTC haven’t had the best year and such litigation hasn’t helped them, as they were trying to launch the One X on AT&T and the latest EVO, the EVO 4G LTE on Sprint, Apple successfully had them held up at customs for weeks. The cross-license patent deal is something that’s caused a lot of controversy in the media as we were all asking just what HTC can bring to the deal after all, their portfolio isn’t as large as it should be and the Taiwanese company relies on more of Apple’s patents than they do on theirs.
There’s been a lot of speculation in the media as to just what was written in the deal between the two and even Samsung want to know just what’s been agreed. There have been rumors that HTC will have to pay Apple as much $8 per Android phone, something that Chou has discounted as “baseless”. Speaking to press recently in Tokyo, Chou expressed his anger at how the press have covered the company’s deal with Apple and that the numbers were “outrageous”. For some time now, HTC have expressed that the Q4 financial results won’t be affected by the deal but that doesn’t neccesarily mean we won’t see some monetary effect later in the future.
Perhaps the deal was more give and take than we originally thought? While Apple have amassed a vast amount of patents in the mobile space, HTC have been in the game for far longer. Apple might have more cards in its deck but, does HTC have a winning hand?