HTC's latest patent suit vs. Apple makes use of acquired IP

HTC's latest patent suit vs. Apple makes use of acquired IP

Summary: HTC's latest patent lawsuit in an ongoing battle with Apple includes two acquired from ADC.

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TOPICS: Legal, Apple, HTC
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If you can't rack up patents, acquiring them looks like a swell idea. Just ask HTC, which sued Apple in another patent lawsuit between the two parties.

On Monday, HTC filed a lawsuit against Apple over three patents: 7,417,944, 7,672,219 and 7,765,414. Of those patents, only one comes from HTC organically. The other two come via ADC Telecom. HTC paid $75 million to pick up those patents in April.

Sound familiar? Of course it does. HTC acquired S3's patents, which can be used as ammunition to fend off Apple's various lawsuits. The International Trade Commission already ruled that Apple is infringing on two S3 patents.

And the mother lode of patent acquisitions appeared yesterday via Google's $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility. That deal was all about the patents---specifically 17,000 of them. If you assume Nortel's 6,000 patents set the benchmark for intellectual property purchases at $4.5 billion, Google basically justified its Motorola Mobility deal with patents. The hardware business is worth next to nothing.

These are wild times in the patent landscape. A company like HTC can spend $375 million acquiring patents (S3 and ADC combined) and justify the returns based on lawsuit defenses. On the surface, HTC's latest patent lawsuit looks run of the mill. But judging from the patent acquisitions of late you can assume there will be many more lawsuits on deck.

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Topics: Legal, Apple, HTC

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41 comments
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  • Think about the opportunity cost of all this money

    All of this money could have been spent on improving the products and services that are offered to us, the consumers. Instead, companies have to spend hundreds of millions and even billions to protect themselves against companies like Apple.

    We all lose.
    toddybottom
    • RE: HTC's latest patent suit vs. Apple makes use of acquired IP

      @toddybottom [i]Instead, companies have to spend hundreds of millions and even billions to protect themselves against companies like Apple.[/i]

      Because Apple is the ONLY one who is suing other companies. I'm not defending Apple in this but pointing out that other companies have sued over tech as well. Your statement implies that Apple is the only predatory tech company around.
      athynz
      • What are you talking about?

        @athynz
        "Your statement implies that Apple is the only predatory tech company around."

        No it doesn't. Here is the quote and I've capitalized the important word:
        "protect themselves against companies LIKE Apple"

        I am clearly doing the exact opposite of implying that Apple is the only predatory tech company around.

        That being said, Apple is the biggest predatory tech company around. But not the only one.
        toddybottom
      • RE: HTC's latest patent suit vs. Apple makes use of acquired IP

        @athynz Seems toddy bottom believes it is ok to sue Apple, using broad patents. But Apple is evil if it does the same. You can even see the bias in his comments [That being said, Apple is the biggest predatory tech company around.] Ignoring the fact that there are several patent trolling companies. Why cannot HTC just come up with their own tech instead of copying other company?s tech?
        Rick_Kl
      • Apple is the biggest predatory tech company

        Apple is a predatory tech company.

        Apple is the biggest tech company.

        Therefore Apple is the biggest predatory tech company.

        Not sure why that is so confusing to you.
        toddybottom
      • RE: HTC's latest patent suit vs. Apple makes use of acquired IP

        @Rick, you're missing the point. Nobody's copying anyone else's tech. Patents for ridiculously broad ideas are issued all the time and it's impossible to create a product without bumping into one or more of them. I guarantee you I couldn't create a small, hand-held media-playing device without stepping on at least a dozen patents... look at Apple being sued because its products boot quickly. Buttons are probably patented... I know Atari held a patent on the joystick. If you wanted to do things like have a button perform a user-selectable function, rearrange menu items on the fly, you think of it, someone's patented it. Remember Amazon had a patent on one-click ordering? It's insane. When Apple sues someone you've got to stop repeating "Why can't X make their own products instead of copying Apple?" and start asking "Why the bleep was Apple issued a patent on THAT?"
        jgm@...
      • RE: HTC's latest patent suit vs. Apple makes use of acquired IP

        @athynz And that of course is not true. Now saying that they are attacking others over the most vague and unenforceable patents...now we're talking.
        timspublic1@...
      • timspublic1: unenforceable?

        I suspect Apple's patents are very enforceable. And I don't say that to suggest it is a good thing.

        The truth is that Apple doesn't even need to win its lawsuits to win in the market. It just needs to freeze the competition. It also helps that each of Apple's lawsuits siphons money away from competitors' R&D department and into their legal department / patent purchasing departments.

        We all lose when Apple sues.
        toddybottom
      • Right Rick_K - it's not like apple suing because they

        @athynz
        patented "the tablet"? ;).

        Oh, and speaking of bias - you want us to actually belive you are unbiased (ROTFLMAO!) - the guy putting words in everyone's mouths when they say something you would rather spin?

        Now, back to that doctored photo of the Galaxy Tab. :)
        William Farrell
      • To Rick_ki --- Go back and read the article....

        It very clearly states that Apple has breached several S3 patents... S3 could sue but they're now owned by someone else, HTC.<br><br>Your banal argument could be directed at Apple.. why don't Apple go create their own stuff. We all know they do to a large extent then steamroad the bits they need off others. But for some reason, in your mind, that doesn't matter. They are Apple and they can do what they want. WRONG, they all live by the same rules and maybe one day sense will prevail but I tell you one thing.. whilst Apple insist that gestures, and form (ultra outline only), are theirs that day is way off. Gestures are gestures; how you code the recognition in your OS is a different matter. Go HTC...
        johnmckay
      • RE: HTC's latest patent suit vs. Apple makes use of acquired IP

        @athynz

        This is all why they just need corporate assassins to run around killing all the lawyers and head honchos till they decide that instead of suing to just start making their product.

        Honestly I just get sick of hearing of all these idiotic lawsuits over some of the dumbest things. I don't care which company(s) are doing it. They all just need to stop and work towards making (us) the consumers happier with the products.
        X107
    • RE: HTC's latest patent suit vs. Apple makes use of acquired IP

      @toddybottom You could easily say that HTC is acting in a predatory manor. Trying to harm an American company, on American soil. Maybe any true Americans should boycott all HTC products.
      Rick_Kl
      • RE: HTC's latest patent suit vs. Apple makes use of acquired IP

        @Rick_Kl
        How is HTC acting in a predatory manner? How is it trying to harm Apple? These patents were clearly purchased to defend itself against Apple's attempt to harm HTC.

        HTC is tiny. Apple is huge. Apple is trying to crush HTC. HTC just wants to survive. Unfortunately, instead of surviving by releasing better and better products, a substantial amount of their capital is tied up defending themselves against companies like Apple. Consumers end up with a product that has $300+ million less R&D in it.

        We all lose.
        toddybottom
      • RE: HTC's latest patent suit vs. Apple makes use of acquired IP

        @toddybottom Suing with patents that were assigned after the fact (I am sure prior art will come up), in an effort to ban the sale of all the companies product is indeed a predatory move. If you also read the patents involved, they are very broad and non descriptor. That being said, HTC is doing the exact same thing as Apple is doing, protecting their assigned patents. But it is intellectually bankrupt to say Apple is acting a in a predatory manner, and when someone else does the same thing it is not.
        Rick_Kl
      • HTC is not acting in a predatory manner

        @Rick_Kl
        Sorry if you can't see the difference.
        toddybottom
      • RE: HTC's latest patent suit vs. Apple makes use of acquired IP

        @toddybottom So its okay for one company to protect their patents, but it is predatory if another one does? What were your comments when Microsoft sued HTC? Werent you one of the many that thought it was okay? After all Microsoft was only seeking payment on any Android phone sold. Apple on the other hand is saying come up with you own tech and stop using ours. So suddenly Apple is predatory? Or do you believe that it is okay to steal IP, as long as it is Apples IP?

        Edit: HTC is seeking to have a permanent injunction against Apple. Preventing Apple from making, importing selling, or offering for sale phones, tablets, notebook computers Desktop computers and MP 3 players. Or in other words, completely wiping out Apples entire product line.
        Rick_Kl
      • RE: HTC's latest patent suit vs. Apple makes use of acquired IP

        @Rick_Kl
        "Trying to harm an American company, on American soil. Maybe any true Americans should boycott all HTC products" - LOL, yeah, Apple is a true American company... You are so patriotic. Where is every one of Apple's devices made again? If you're really that patriotic, you shouldn't mind banning all chinese-made devices. Today's "American" companies are little more than executive staff and a few pencil-pushers; the rest of the company resides in other countries... including their headquarters (*cough* mailbox) so they can evade American taxes. Sorry, but I don't feel too sorry for corporate America these days - I have about as much patriotism for them as they do for American workers.
        NetAdmin1178
      • RE: HTC's latest patent suit vs. Apple makes use of acquired IP

        @NetAdmin1178 While it is true that the manufacturing has been shipped overseas, Apple still employes a large number of American workers. Steve Jobs indicated that Apple is looking to hire many thousand new employees when their mew campus is built. That being said, when you call Apple for support, at least you speak to an American. As opposed to many other American companies, that have not only their manufacturing shipped overseas, but also their support done in countries like India and Pakistan.
        Rick_Kl
      • RE: HTC's latest patent suit vs. Apple makes use of acquired IP

        @Rick_Kl
        While I'll concede that Apple does employ more than "a few" Americans, it is still disproportionately biased to overseas workers when you consider the amount of jobs involved in the manufacture of their devices. And I am sorry that I'm singling out Apple in this argument (you first singled them out as an American company), because the majority of "American" companies do the same thing. In my personal opinion, once a company has done this, they aren't an American company anymore, they're an international company; and I refuse to follow the "buy American / support American" M.O. for these companies; to me they've done as much damage to the American worker as any overseas company has. I feel the same in the use of h1-b visas in these companies as well (which I'm sure Apple will be using for more than a few of the job openings in their new building). I do applaud Apple for using Americans for support, though its my guess that if they could get away with using outsourced support without tarnishing their image, they would.
        NetAdmin1178
      • RE: HTC's latest patent suit vs. Apple makes use of acquired IP

        @Rick_Kl
        What does Microsoft have to do with anything?

        Apple is using its patents in a predatory offensive manner irregardless of what MS does.

        HTC had to purchase these patents to defend itself from predatory companies like Apple.

        And Apple, being the biggest company in the world, is the biggest company that is using its patents in a predatory offensive manner.

        So much money wasted on defensive patents when it could have been put into making better products for consumers to enjoy.

        We all lose.
        toddybottom