HTC, Apple Patent Battle Continues to Heat Up

By Erin Harrison September 09, 2011

The patent battle between HTC and Apple continues to heat up, as Asia’s second-biggest smartphone maker pursues new infringement claims against the iPhone maker.

HTC Corp. is using nine patents bought from Google Inc. last week to pursue action against Apple Inc., Bloomberg reported.

“Google had taken ownership of the patents less than a year ago, with four of the patents originating from Motorola Inc., three from Openwave Systems Inc. and two from Palm Inc., according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records. Jim Prosser, a spokesman for Mountain View, Calif.-based Google, wouldn’t discuss reasons for the nine transfers to HTC,” Bloomberg said.

HTC and Apple are embroiled in a continuing legal conflict. Earlier this year, Techzone 360 reported that HTC remained confident it has strong grounds – for an appeal of an ITC initial ruling – that the company violated two Apple patents, according to media reports.

In June, Apple filed a second lawsuit against HTC, according to a report from TechZone360. Apple said HTC violated two patents that were not named in the company’s first lawsuit, TechZone360 said. Apple’s first lawsuit – from earlier this year – accused HTC of violating 20 patents. In 2010, Apple alleged HTC violated several of its patents connected to the iPhone.

However, as Bloomberg points out, “HTC now has more ammunition in its fight to fend off multiple patent-infringement claims lodged by Apple that contend phones running Google’s Android operating system copy the iPhone. Google’s involvement in aiding HTC represents a new front in an industry-wide dispute over smartphone technology that has also ensnared Android customers Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., Barnes & Noble Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.”

Will Stofega, a technology analyst at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC told Bloomberg HTC’s latest action is “a bit of a game-changer.” 

“Google was interested in protecting its licensees with Android. It shows they need to support their customers in order to make sure the customers stick with them,” Stofega said in the report.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

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Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TechZone360, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

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