Google gives HTC nine patents to use against Apple

Google gives HTC nine patents to use against Apple

Summary: The smartphone patent wars escalate as Google signs nine over to HTC to use in legal battle against Apple. But is the search giant making itself a target?

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TOPICS: Apple, Google, HTC, Legal
48

This mobile lawsuit chart needs an update with this news.

With this news, this mobile patent lawsuit chart needs an update.

Google signed nine patents over to HTC last week, giving the smartphone manufacturer new grounds to counterattack Apple with infringement claims, Bloomberg reports.

Those patents - three of which originated from Openwave Systems, two from Palm, and four from Motorola - all came to Google less than a year ago. Why, exactly, Google gave them to HTC on August 29th, no one is saying.

But the important bit is that these new patents give HTC enough ammunition to sue Apple for infringement in a lawsuit, as well as file a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) on September 6th. It's a strike back against Apple for claiming that Google Android violates its own patents.

That lawsuit, which was filed in Delaware, shows that HTC is claiming the following, according to Bloomberg:

The lawsuit contends the Mac computer, iPhone, iPod, iPad, iCloud and iTunes are infringing patents for a way to upgrade software wirelessly; a way to transfer data between a microprocessor and a support chip; a method to store user preferences, and a way to provide consistent contact between application software and a radio modem.

Oh, and the patents at issue in the complaint HTC filed against Apple? Again from the Bloomberg report:

The patents in the ITC case relate to an interface that lets the user add identifiers such as .com or .org; an interface that enlarges characters being typed; a way to display information on mobile devices; and status bars that let a user check phone calls, text messages or calendar events.

Frankly, all of those sound like ridiculous things for any manufacturer to hold a patent on. "A method to store user preferences?" "A way to display information on a mobile device?"

When the actual "innovations" these tech titans are arguing about are laid out like that, Google chairman Eric Schmidt's concerns about constant patent battles stifling innovation seem to take on more weight.

Apple, of course, says that it has no problem with competition but its rivals need to come up with its own technology. HTC says that it has a duty to protect its corporate interests, but is open to talking with Apple directly to settle matters.

Google's strategy in this patent shuffle is both inscrutable and completely obvious. In the wake of the Motorola Mobility acquisition, Google wants to reaffirm its commitment to its Android handset manufacturer partners. And without these patents and a countersuit, HTC would continue its losing streak against Apple in court.

But if Google wanted to avoid these legal morasses entirely, this wasn't the way to do it. Buying Motorola Mobility made Google a legal target already. But giving HTC these patents means that Apple may well have an excuse to take action against Google directly now, something which the search giant has so far avoided in all of these Android cases.

The smartphone market is exploding, and these manufacturing giants continue to scramble to protect their turf. And there's no sign that things are going to let up, especially for Google Android handset manufacturers.

Topics: Apple, Google, HTC, Legal

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48 comments
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  • RE: Google gives HTC nine patents to use against Apple

    Here we go round the patent bush blah blah blah.

    Lawyers get richer and the customer ends up paying.
    Alan Smithie
    • RE: Google gives HTC nine patents to use against Apple

      Yeah, but you'll notice that HTC's lawyers are the ones getting rich, and HTC's customers who are going pay.

      This 'gift' by Google amounts to saying, "Let's you and him fight." You go spend a bunch of lawyer money, and I'll watch.

      Hey, it's a good deal for Google.
      Robert Hahn
      • RE: Google gives HTC nine patents to use against Apple

        @Robert Hahn Thats stupid .. HTC will have to face Apple one or the other day, making their Lawyers rich anyway. Google is just making it worth the expenditure
        kamathln
    • RE: Google gives HTC nine patents to use against Apple

      @Alan Smithie Fully agree your points.
      terazjp
  • RE: Google gives HTC nine patents to use against Apple

    Now if Google bought MOTO to be a competitor or all in one shop, then why give these patents to HTC?
    slickjim
    • RE: Google gives HTC nine patents to use against Apple

      @Peter Perry because they bought Motorola to support the android platform. Not to be a hardware player In the smartphone game.
      Jimster480
      • RE: Google gives HTC nine patents to use against Apple

        @Jimster480 Dream on.
        Skippy99
      • RE: Google gives HTC nine patents to use against Apple

        @Skippy99
        I think actions speaks a bit louder than just dreams.

        It is quite obvious that this will give HTC ammo to protect their Android business.
        hkommedal
    • Who says 'gave'

      @Peter Perry

      Sounds more like you can share these with us. Thankfiully Apple never invented the car, or spoon, or shoes, otherwise the world would be a bit sterile. Am I th only one starting to wish illwill on all things Apple.

      Certainly not drawing me into the ecosystem and I was seriously thinking about a mac laptop 6 months ago. The whole stupid 'I patented that colour, and that angle has just pi$$ed me off. I've since discovered Virtualbox and simply run MACOS in that for support purposes. Apple need to get a grip and back off before ALL the opponents gang up and share their IT patents at the court level. Boy do I hope they get stung big time soon.
      johnmckay
      • RE: Google gives HTC nine patents to use against Apple

        @GetReal-mac.com

        +1
        hkommedal
    • To fight a common enemy.

      @Peter Perry

      Lets get one thing straight, and it should be obvious.....

      If party1 has a patent then party2 cannot sue party3 for breaching a patent.

      In this case party2 is Apple. Quite happy suing anyone for patent infringement that Party1 (Google) say is theirs. Whether they bought it last night, last week, lent it to party3 (HTC) or registered it themselves is irrelevant. The FACT is that the patent ownership IS disputed thus Apple CANNOT sue for it. What is so hard to figure out here? Unless you're a fully paid up member of the fanbois club.
      johnmckay
    • RE: Google gives HTC nine patents to use against Apple

      @Peter Perry I thought the Moto deal wasn't approved yet? If so how can they give the patents to HTC?
      non-biased
  • RE: Google gives HTC nine patents to use against Apple

    Oh and Apple has no case against Android at this time! The skins and hardware design are what makes Samsung, MOTO, and HTC a prime target.
    slickjim
  • RE: Google gives HTC nine patents to use against Apple

    Apple started first ...
    AdnanPirota
    • RE: Google gives HTC nine patents to use against Apple

      @AdnanPirota Apple is protecting their IP... As I see it this move by Google implies fear on their part that HTC did indeed infringe upon Apple's IP. I wonder if Google is planning to come to the rescue of Samsung as well?
      athynz
      • RE: Google gives HTC nine patents to use against Apple

        @Pete "athynz" Athens
        Small correction: Apple is protecting their [b] dodgy [/b] IP.
        Google, HTC, and Samsung et al has to start somewhere to kill this "patent" mockery.
        hkommedal
      • RE: Google gives HTC nine patents to use against Apple

        @Pete "athynz" Athens With design patents like "a rectangular device with a flat screen" and "a white box with a picture of the product," who *doesn't* infringe on Apple's IP? O_o
        daengbo
      • RE: Google gives HTC nine patents to use against Apple

        @Pete "athynz" Athens
        Apple sued Samsung and blocked the galaxy tab in Germany based on the fact the ipad is a rectangle with a touch screen lcd. If they wanna sue for such vague crap i hope everyone sues apple on the same vague crap.
        Fletchguy
      • Get off the coke man...

        @Pete "athynz" Athens

        They are sharing THEIR patents with HTC. They are saying it's got nought to do with Apple; they are saying Apple are trying to sue HTC for patents they themselves are invalidating. Get off your Apple high-horse and open your eyes before talking rubbish.

        As for your stupid, inane reference to Samsung... What if they do???? So Google provide information that the claims by Apple are invalid (owned by google) is somehow wrong??? You are one sad individual if you think that is in any way improper. Hopefully most open minded folk would listen to ALL the evidence and not just your Apple tinted version.

        Who really cares whether one company is better than another? Why can't you fanbois/zealots just let everyone buy what they want at the time, to do the job they want, without you saying ' ooohh that's Apples logo, thats Apples idea, thats Apples font, Apple wer about to do that' Give us a break!
        johnmckay
      • RE: Google gives HTC nine patents to use against Apple

        @GetReal-mac.com [i]"Hopefully most open minded folk would listen to ALL the evidence..."[/i]
        You obviously are not talking about yourself when you speak of open minded people are you?
        non-biased