Attorneys at Vinson & Elkins’ IP practice can breath easy following a jury ruling in favor of their client, HTC, in a Texas patent case stemming from summer of 2017. The Taiwanese consumer electronics company had been charged with infringing on a patent filed by former U.S. rocket scientist Joe Salazar. That patent, which was granted to Salazar in 1998 under patent number 5,802,467, is specifically listed as covering "Wireless and wired communications, command, control and sensing system for sound and/or data transmission and reception." The jury in this case, as mentioned above, sided with HTC and concluded that the company's HTC One M7, One M8, and One M9 did not infringe on the patent. Primarily, the infringement case centered around HTC's incorporation of "wireless communications, control and sensing systems" on those devices. That is thought to have been more directly tied in with the device's built-in IR blaster for controlling external devices which featured remote controls - such as televisions or stereo systems. The decision was reached on May 11 at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Marshall Division.
Although not necessarily a major case for HTC, especially with consideration for how many smartphones have released with similar control mechanisms built in, the company is likely glad to put the situation in the past. For all of its innovation and other self-reinvention efforts, the once premier Android handset maker has struggled quite a bit over the past several years. The company did recently bounce back momentarily thanks to a deal between itself and Google. However, its April figures just didn't bear out in terms of sales in spite of the consistent release of top-tier Android smartphones year after year.
With that said, the company certainly hasn't thrown in the towel yet. Not only is it slated to release an Android flagship under the HTC U12 Plus moniker on May 23. The company is also looking to break open an entirely new type of smartphone built not on Android but on Blockchain and featuring direct support for the undergirding of popular cryptocurrencies. Beyond that, the rest of the system is expected to be built around decentralized applications. That may or may not be enough to push HTC back into profitability but the company certainly didn't need the recently concluded patent suit hanging over its head, in any case.