Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Android Google Patents The Courts Apple

Apple and HTC Settle Patent Dispute 179

Posted by samzenpus
from the come-together dept.
An anonymous reader writes "HTC and Apple have reached a global settlement that includes the dismissal of all current lawsuits and a ten-year license agreement. The license extends to current and future patents held by both parties. The terms of the settlement are confidential. From the article: '"HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation," Peter Chou, HTC's chief executive, said in a statement. Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, also expressed relief in a statement. "We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation," he said.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Apple and HTC Settle Patent Dispute

Comments Filter:
  • by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4@gm a i l .com> on Sunday November 11, 2012 @01:17PM (#41950277)

    HTC uesd to be a legitimate contender, so Apple did all they could to block them from the market. With all the resources HTC has diverted to the patent wars, they can't really compete anymore and Apple probably doesn't see them as a legitimate contender. Apple probably just figures they might as well suck whatever money's left taking from them. Borrowing from the Ars article on the same topic, HTC (read: the little guys) is just the upfront victim of the patent wars.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Don't worry, patent law doesn't need reform. IBM said so.

    • by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @03:08PM (#41951029)

      HTC used to be a legitimate contender, so Apple did all they could to block them from the market. With all the resources HTC has diverted to the patent wars, they can't really compete anymore and Apple probably doesn't see them as a legitimate contender. Apple probably just figures they might as well suck whatever money's left taking from them. Borrowing from the Ars article on the same topic, HTC (read: the little guys) is just the upfront victim of the patent wars.

      HTC now is (as far as I know) now the only company with full access to apple's patents. If those patents really are as valuable as Apple claims, HTC is now in a great position to roll out some strong products. In fact, since they could make android handsets they are in a unique position to use both the Apple and Google patents. If HTC isn't in imminent danger, the next few years could be amazing for them.

      • Only with bigger screens, more memory and better performance. Unless there is a prohibitive per-unit cost, they will also be cheaper. Apple may have made a boo-boo.

        • by icebike (68054) * on Sunday November 11, 2012 @05:02PM (#41951741)

          Apple didn't make a mistake.

          They just got access to all the patents of some of the slickest phone designers with the best screens, more memory, and better performance, experienced in two different Operating Systems. You said so yourself, and then turned around an awarded the score to HTC. What kind of reasoning is that?

          Apple is the clear winner here. HTC gains only legal relief. Nothing Apple has patented is of value, except as a club to beat others with.

          The HTC ONE line of phones puts Apple to shame. Whether its the Windows Phone version or the Android version, HTC designs are top notch, even better than Samsung. HTCs problem is they have spent so much time and money fighting Apple they have nothing left to bribe the purchasing agents for the big carriers into accepting their phones (unlike Samsung).

          Apple could use HTC's expertise. I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple purchase them outright or at least gain a majority stock position. If they did that, they would have a beachhead into both Windows Phone and Android, because its easy to see that IOS is beginning its death spiral, and Apple has to do something.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by whisper_jeff (680366)

            ...because its easy to see that IOS is beginning its death spiral...

            iOS is beginning its death spiral? Are you joking? It's market percentage might be decreasing (and it seems to actually be holding pretty steady right now, going up in one quarter, down in another, and back up again) but it's unit sales continue to rise - their declining percentage is simply an indication of how fast the entire market is growing. Other manufacturers/OSes are seeing their unit sales decline but Apple most certainly isn't one of them. Their sales figures have been on a constant upward trajec

            • by icebike (68054) * on Sunday November 11, 2012 @07:11PM (#41952501)

              I said BEGINNING its death spiral. That you can't see a trend right before your very eyes says more about you than Apple.

              Top Execs fired at apple for major maps failures.
              Deliberate production caps on new releases just so they can say they sold out.
              Iphone 5 sales faltering [opposingviews.com].
              3 out of 4 [huffingtonpost.com] smartphones purchases are Android.

              Apple needs a refresh. Their initial sale clime with every new release is merely eating their own young, reselling to the same customer base while quietly running buy-back programs [arstechnica.com] to take their old units off the street.

              You are confusing deployed numbers with new new purchases which blinds you to trends. With a 3 year head start, Apple has a lot of faithful, who re-buy Apple each time. But New (first time) smartphone phone buyers are going 54% to Android [nielsen.com] and a distant 36% to Apple. The irresistible lure of Apple has worn off.

              The market is calling TOP for Apple right now.

              • by cdrudge (68377)

                Iphone 5 sales faltering [opposingviews.com].

                I love hating Apple as much as the next guy, but "sales faltering" 1 week after the product launch? And a launch that onlysold 5 million? Maybe you could say they were faltering after a month or two of sales. But not after a week.

            • by Aryden (1872756)

              Other manufacturers/OSes are seeing their unit sales decline but Apple most certainly isn't one of them

              You might want to ask Samsung about that one.

              • I didn't say "every other manufacturers" - I said " other manufacturers". I was referring to manufacturers like RIM and Nokia and HTC who are seeing their unit sales decline.

            • by CAIMLAS (41445)

              iOS itself, not the iPhones. iOS reached its current maturity years ago and has only filled in its whiskers in the time since. It's starting to get grey and long in the tooth, with a bit of pudge around the center. It really should've considered working more to stay in shape.

          • by SomePgmr (2021234)

            Apple is the clear winner here. HTC gains only legal relief. Nothing Apple has patented is of value, except as a club to beat others with.

            If that legal relief includes exemption from being beating with that club, regardless of what they do, that might well be a great competitive advantage on its own.

        • Does this mean that HTC can now make phones with rounded corners?

      • by Raumkraut (518382) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @06:11PM (#41952149)

        HTC now is (as far as I know) now the only company with full access to apple's patents.

        Interesting thought.
        If there's one thing we've learnt about Apple, it's that they don't like to share. I can't imagine that full cross-licensing of their patents (current and future!) was a desirable outcome for Apple, going into this litigation.

        Either Apple were set to lose, badly, or there's scheming afoot...

        • by AaronLS (1804210)

          Maybe cooler heads prevailed. From one country to another the courts were ruling this way or that way. Maybe each decided the ($legal costs + penalties in losing countries) > (potentially losing market on giving competitor access to patents). We can debate which party got the short end of the deal in terms of licensing fees or competitor access to patents, but in the end it was probably a better outcome for both than to throw money in a black hole of litigation, penalties, and sales bans. I think it

        • by sgbett (739519)

          Maybe they are just fulfilling their role as the new evil empire.

          Embrace, extend, extinguish.

          All they need now is a few more developers.

      • by dudpixel (1429789) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @10:37PM (#41953545)

        How funny would it be if HTC made a phone that looked just like the iPhone and were sued by Samsung for copying their designs?

      • by symbolset (646467) *

        HTC now is (as far as I know) now the only company with full access to apple's patents.

        Microsoft and Apple have a full patent cross license going back to, I believe, 1994. They are in cahoots on this whole anti-Android campaign.

        HTC ran out of fight, is all. They sold out and now will find themselves following Nokia on the road to hell. When they get there they'll get to meet Microsoft's other mobile partners. [asymco.com]

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        That's one possible outcome, based solely on the assumption that Apple's patents aren't useless.

        It's pretty clear at this point that Apple's patents are form over function and they reason they're where they are now is marketing and jackboot tactics. The truth of the matter is that this is just Apple setting up HTC to use as their PR bitch: "Use our patents or we'll ruin you" -> "OK" -> "Look, HTC used our patents, we play fair".

    • by jopsen (885607)

      With all the resources HTC has diverted to the patent wars, they can't really compete anymore...

      Whilst I'm sure lawyers aren't cheap, engineers aren't cheap either... And for a company with resources as HTC, I really doubt a few legal battles are a significant expenditure...

      HTC aren't nowhere near as big as Apple, but with a revenue around 9 Billion USD, I doubt a few millions for lawyers is a game changer.

      • Not sure where you're getting those numbers. In Q3 2012, HTC recorded net income of $137 million so burning millions on unnecessary lawyer fees is in the 1-10% range of their net income. That's pretty significant and a lot of revenue which could otherwise be put towards hardware or software development. God knows a few extra engineers would certainly help push out those Android updates for more models and/or earlier. Even with a cross-licensing deal, they'll probably lose millions to Apple... who knows what

        • by icebike (68054) * on Sunday November 11, 2012 @05:30PM (#41951869)

          HTC recorded net income of $137 million so burning millions on unnecessary lawyer fees is in the 1-10% range of their net income.

          He said revenue.
          You counter with net income.
          He's talking Yearly.
          You counter with Quarterly.

          Lets keep the discussion about the same thing, mkay?

          HTC still has revenue of 2,339.2 million /quarter or 9.3 Billion yearly. Source [businessweek.com].

          HTCs problems stems from Management's batshit crazy investment pattern in technologies and partnerships that drain cash and return nothing. (Beets Audio). The 13 million (USD) they lost on that stuff plus the 41 million lost fighting Apple patent suits are significant, and bring down earnings from 189.6 million to 134.4. (Quarterly numbers)

          They should be plowing that money into sales efforts even if it means "bribing" the purchasing agents and management of the major carriers like some of the manufacturers do. (You didn't for a minute assume carriers choose phones based on specs/looks/price alone did you?). Even with the fanciest gear, if a Carrier won't feature your phone because you didn't fly them to some exotic vacation resort you can't make any headway.

      • by greenbird (859670)

        HTC aren't nowhere near as big as Apple, but with a revenue around 9 Billion USD, I doubt a few millions for lawyers is a game changer.

        Your base are assumptions are way, way off. From SFGate [sfgate.com]:

        Compare those accomplishments with recent investments by Apple and Google, and you'll be disappointed. Collectively, the two have spent an estimated $400 million on litigation expenses fighting the so-called "smartphone wars," a worldwide spate of patent suits that so far has done little more than enrich lawyers and reduce consumer choice in the mobile device market.

        Shockingly, both companies spent far more in the last two years simply purchasing patents - new ammunition for the patent war effort - than they invested in research and design.

        They spend more on patent wars then they do on research.

        • by symbolset (646467) *

          They spend more on patent wars then they do on research.

          I'm sure they're as happy about that as we are.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    the SCO Linux licensing agreements by this?

    • by kasperd (592156)

      the SCO Linux licensing agreements by this?

      Because one case was about copyright and the other was about patents?

      • by game kid (805301)

        If, in either case, you'd need a massive war chest (of patents, money, or otherwise) and an army of lawyers just to keep your product out of Injunction Junction*, does such a detail matter for groups who want to make hardware without getting hounded by a protection-fee landmine?

        I think it doesn't matter, and that it's just as much of a icky travesty here as there. That the settle-terms are confidential here suggest the patents in question may (at least as of now) be inherently non-FRAND too. It's just a l

      • by psiclops (1011105)

        or maybe it was because one was about operating systems and the other was about smartphones.

        oh wait, just maybe it could be the similarities and not the differences that causes the connection in ones mind.

        • or maybe it was because one was about operating systems and the other was about smartphones.

          They're both about operating systems, as I understand it. Some of the features that Apple claimed are common to all smartphones that run the Android operating system.

  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lennier1 (264730) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @01:22PM (#41950315)

    HTC thought it would be a good idea to settle with a patent troll?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BasilBrush (643681)

      A patent troll is a person or company that holds patents but doesn't create products. That being the case your comment makes no sense.

      • Re:Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11, 2012 @01:56PM (#41950545)

        It has also come to mean a company that sues competitors with bogus patents, gaming the system etc. Rounded corners anyone?

      • by sela (32566)

        I agree. Apple does create products, so they can't be patent trolls.

        Using the right terminology is of utmost importance. We need to make sure we use the right term for Apple, a big successful company which uses patents aggressively to hurt the compatition and stiffle innovation. The correct term for Apple is a patent bully.

  • Non-paywalled link (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11, 2012 @01:29PM (#41950359)

    The link appears to bring up a paywall for me, either that or a bunch of ad-laden crap that privoxy flushes.

    Here's a better link [pcmag.com]

  • by Rexdude (747457)

    ..HTC phones come with an added Apple Tax? The article doesn't mention what the patents in question were. I have a One X, and I'll say this - If I had to choose a manufacturer skin I'd go with Sense anyday over Samsung's Touchwiz. Can't imagine what HTC might have copied off Apple if it's UI related. They have a fully customizable home screen, themes, skins, extra widgets...none of which you'll find on any iPhone.

    • by Rexdude (747457)

      Wow, ask a question and get modded flame bait. Fucking fan boys.

  • Actually, the post was "Why you can't build your own smartphone", but that didn't fit.

    It is impossible to build a smartphone without violating imaginary property laws. So no small, scrappy entrepreneur with a dream will ever be able to make one and sell it. The only people who can make smartphones are big-time players with the money to fight the lawsuits. The barrier to independent entrepreneurship to an impossible level.

    • Even if ip rights weren't a problem, making sure your spiffy new phone doesn't blow up or having the kind of industrial capacity to build these things are bigger barriers to entry.

      Try again.

  • What's the angle? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Qwavel (733416) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @01:34PM (#41950395)

    Very curious about what happened here?

    Maybe Apple gave them decent terms as long as HTC swallowed a bit of a poison pill: the patent license deal dies if HTC is purchased by, or merges with another company (Apple did something similar with RIM). The last thing Apple wants is consolidation that would make the Android ecosystem healthier.

    Or maybe MS played a role? It was reported that HTC managed to get Microsoft on side, largely by agreeing to continue to make Windows Phones'. Maybe having Microsoft on their side helped in negotiations with Apple.

    Maybe it's divide to conquer? If the weaker manufacturers in the Android ecosystem have a license to use all the basic touch screen methods, and the stronger ones don't then it could lead to greater inconsistency between Android phones and could weaken the strong players (i.e. Samsung).

    Ultimately, Apple's biggest threats are Samsung and Google/Nexus. I mention Nexus in particular because there is nothing that Apple & MS could hate more then the low margins of the Nexus devices. Whether or not the Nexus 4 itself is a success, the nexus line has become a threat to the traditionally high margins on mobile devices and it must have re-inforced Apple's determination to kill Android.

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @01:50PM (#41950505) Journal

      Very curious about what happened here?

      Patent System Not Broken, Argues IBM's Chief Patent Counsel [slashdot.org]
      That's what happened.

      Obviously IBM couldn't have allowed a giant clusterfuck of patent lawsuits to go forward after they had just publicly said the system isn't broken.
      So they engineered two massive corporations cross-licensing their portfolios in order to fit the IBM definition of "not broken"
      If it makes you feel better, I'm sure the illuminati & free masons were involved and the reptilians were not.

    • Apple's legal barrel is too hot. You can only engage a certain number of fronts in a certain number of courts and countries. And at a certain point if you win TOO many patent battles, you trigger anti-trust attention. It's not inconsistent, it's realpolitik.
    • HTC did make a bucket load of Windows Phone and Windows CE PDA's and phones back in the day, when the iPod still had a hard drive.
    • Expect a joint strike on Samsung in 5, 4, 3, 2, ...

    • Ultimately, Apple's biggest threats are Samsung and Google/Nexus.

      Apple's biggest threat is itself. Rather than paying as much attention as possible to the care and feeding of its millions of fanatically loyal groupies, they decided to see just how many they could drive away by developing a new corporate image as a profiteering, arrogant bully that regards environmental programs as a nuisance.

  • "We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation"

    That's great news, Tim. You've got some catching up to do. :)

    • Maybe Tim Cook will innovate the iPhone again and make it another half inch longer. [youtube.com]

    • by mjwx (966435)

      "We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation"

      That's great news, Tim. You've got some catching up to do. :)

      By Innovation, he of course means suing his competitors. Apple Innovation(TM)

  • Tim Cook wouldn't know innovation if the zombie corpse of Steve Jobs rose from the dead and bit him in the face.
  • For two reasons, I thin HTC won't be commissioned by Google to make a Nexus device:
    1. HTC is on its last legs, more or less. They are ready to make deals with any and all, and their willingness to have prominent Windows phones is a sign of that (I know Samsung also makes Windows phones, but in case of Samsung, they are just symbolic gestures). That makes HTC a liability, to the Android ecosystem.

    2. The deal with Apple likely includes a poison pill, and Google may not want to touch HTC anymore.

    • by tuppe666 (904118)

      1. HTC is on its last legs, more or less.

      Not sure where this nonsense really came from, HTC were *very* successful last year on the back of Android, now other companies are producing more compelling products, and it sells less [there are other reasons], but HTC is still profitable, its just it has the same cost of sales...with lower sales. They are very far from their last legs. They are not Nokia.

      As for Microsoft HTC was originally the goto manufacturer for Microsoft phones,and I don't think they ever stopped [even samsung make micosoft phones].

      • by mjwx (966435)

        1. HTC is on its last legs, more or less.

        Not sure where this nonsense really came from, HTC were *very* successful last year on the back of Android, now other companies are producing more compelling products, and it sells less [there are other reasons], but HTC is still profitable, its just it has the same cost of sales...with lower sales. They are very far from their last legs. They are not Nokia.

        HTC has made a few decisions over the last year that has put them offside with consumers. Locked bootloaders, sense becoming more bloated, the elimination of the Z series (keyboard phones) and slow updates[1] have made them less desirable. HTC did very well with the Desire range of phones putting them into the hands and minds of average consumers. Due to the problems mentioned above and lacklustre new offerings (until the One line) they have lost the initiative to Samsung and Sony. The lack of a low end pho

  • LTE patents (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr_Silver (213637) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @05:59PM (#41952063)

    My bet is that they came to an agreement because HTC hold some LTE patents that Apple need:

  • Apple's flagship product is thug lawsuits. Apple will continue business as usual.

  • We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation

    Actually, because laser beams have a gaussian intensity cross-section, they are a pain in the ass to focus. He'd get a much tighter focus spot with plain old regular light (or even better, UV, since the diffraction spot scales with wavelength).

    So there.

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself. -- A.H. Weiler

Working...