An Apple/HTC patent deal could signal big trouble for Android

An Apple/HTC patent deal could signal big trouble for Android

Summary: HTC has indicated that it is prepared to negotiate with Apple over the ongoing patent dispute. But will Apple choose to settle? And if HTC and Apple do settle, what does this mean for Android as a whole?

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TOPICS: Apple, HTC
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HTC has indicated that it is prepared to negotiate with Apple over the ongoing patent dispute. But will Apple choose to settle? And if HTC and Apple do settle, what does this mean for Android as a whole?

Earlier this month the ITC (International Trade Commission) ruled that HTC was infringing on two of Apple's patents. That's a big deal for Apple, but it's also a big deal for the Android platform as a whole since it is likely that these patents apply to every Android device out there. That's a very big deal.

Now, if this was the state of play then HTC would be in big trouble. Fortunately the company has an ace up its sleeve. Earlier this month HTC announced a $300 million deal to buy S3 Graphics, an announcement that came just days following S3 winning an ITC ruling against Apple over two compression technology patents.

So HTC has some big guns of its own, and it's willing to come to the table with Apple to sort things out:

"We have to sit down and figure it out," Winston Yung, chief financial officer of the Taoyuan, Taiwan-based company, said by phone today. "We're open to having discussions."

So HTC isn't defenseless after all. If HTC didn't have any patents to fight Apple with, it's likely that Apple wouldn't choose to settle (after all, it's not like the company needs the cash and collecting nickels and dimes in patent loot would just be a drop in the cash ocean). But given that HTC has something that Apple wants (at least it'll be HTC's when its buyout of S3 is complete) then a settlement seems far more likely.

But, remember how those two patent ruling that Apple won against HTC most likely extend to all Android devices out there. If Apple and HTC can reach a deal through both having technology that the other side wants to license, where does that leave all the other OEMs out there? Also, where does that leave Android?

In trouble, that's where it leaves them. If I were an Android OEM I'd be spending some time examining my patent portfolio in the hope that I can either find something that Apple might be infringing on, and then launching a infringement claim (and hoping that the HTC agrees with me), or looking for some patent that might be of interest to Apple. An Android OEM that doesn't have technology that Apple is infringing on (or just wants) is in serious trouble.

Oh, and remember that Android as it is at the center of 49 federal and ITC infringement suits, so it's likely that things are going to get worse before they get better.

Topics: Apple, HTC

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  • Should be fun to watch.....

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
    • RE: An Apple/HTC patent deal could signal big trouble for Android

      @James Quinn
      Apple will lose and be forced to pay damages to HTC.
      The iCrap share will drop close to windoze phone after that.
      Linux Geek
      • Or not.....

        @Linux Geek Just saying.....

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
      • RE: An Apple/HTC patent deal could signal big trouble for Android

        @Linux Geek So now Apple and Microsoft will make money from Android sales while Google gives it away free... HMM...
        Hasam1991
      • RE: An Apple/HTC patent deal could signal big trouble for Android

        @Hasam1991
        More likely Apple will pay HTC for a license to S3 patents.
        Linux Geek
      • RE: An Apple/HTC patent deal could signal big trouble for Android

        @Linux Geek yes your a right. Moron.
        johnsuarez10
      • RE: An Apple/HTC patent deal could signal big trouble for Android

        @Linux Geek SOMEONE SAID IT BELOW:

        10:44am - We've been pushing the state of the art in every facet of this design. We've got the multi-touch screen, miniaturization, OS X in a mobile device, precision enclosures, three advanced sensors, desktop class applications, and the widescreen video iPod. We filed for over 200 patents for all the inventions in iPhone and we intend to protect them."
        Hasam1991
      • RE: An Apple/HTC patent deal could signal big trouble for Android

        @johnsuarez10
        Until vile and rude people like you are banned from zdnet blogs I'm going to boycott zdnet!
        Linux Geek
      • RE: An Apple/HTC patent deal could signal big trouble for Android

        @Linux Geek wishful thinking on your part. And it will never happen.
        athynz
      • RE: An Apple/HTC patent deal could signal big trouble for Android

        @Linux Geek

        [b]Until vile and rude people like you are banned from zdnet blogs I'm going to boycott zdnet!

        Linux Geek[/b]

        It MUST be my birthday! Or Christmas! Or both rolled into one very exciting gift! This right here shows that there IS indeed hope alive and well in the world. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out! See YA!
        athynz
      • RE: An Apple/HTC patent deal could signal big trouble for Android

        @Linux Geek
        Other reasons to question Google (even though he should have backed up): Read this http://www.wxpnews.com/
        partman1969@...
    • Fun to watch? What, 'Big Trouble in Little Chinatown'

      @James Quinn
      ;)
      William Pharaoh
  • RE: An Apple/HTC patent deal could signal big trouble for Android

    I'm sure android won't be missed if its in big trouble and has to fade away. Other mobile OS's will take its place, ones that made fair use of the patents.
    LoverockDavidson
    • RE: An Apple/HTC patent deal could signal big trouble for Android

      @LoverockDavidson
      That's pure FUD you peddle!
      Apple's case is very weak against HTC and has nothing to do with android. If I were Job$ I would be more worried about the counter-suits brought by HTC & Samsung against iCrap.
      Linux Geek
      • To be honest I don't think Jobs is the least bit worried:)

        @Linux Geek

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
      • RE: An Apple/HTC patent deal could signal big trouble for Android

        @Linux Geek Go to YouTube and watch the 2007 iPhone intro... Jobs kept saying "and we have patent" on this and that..... Google had access to the iPhone dev back in 05 06 so in essence a lot of what you see in Android was copied from iPhone.
        Hasam1991
      • RE: An Apple/HTC patent deal could signal big trouble for Android

        @Hasam1991
        there is abundant prior art to Job$ patents from HTC, Nokia, RIM and others. Hype is not IP claim.
        Linux Geek
      • RE: An Apple/HTC patent deal could signal big trouble for Android

        @Linux Geek, what are you talking about? The rulings have been made against HTC, and it's very likely that they will stand.

        Meanwhile, the article has made a major error about S3. It's possible that HTC bought them thinking that they could hold it over Apples' head, but that can't happen. While S3 did win, their $83 million claim was only allowed for $8 million. That doesn't just cover all devices in the past, but all current ones. However, the worst thing for HTC about this agreement is that is also covers all of Apples' future device sales.

        Given all that, it's useless against Apple. No wonder HTC has been trying to negotiate.
        melgross
      • RE: An Apple/HTC patent deal could signal big trouble for Android

        @Linux Geek Their case is weak, 8 patents have already been tossed out, just 2 to go.
        anothercanuck
      • RE: An Apple/HTC patent deal could signal big trouble for Android

        @Linux Geek [b]Apple's case is very weak against HTC and has nothing to do with android.[/b]

        AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!

        And yet it is [i][b][u]HTC[/u][/b][/i] that is trying to settle with Apple... Big BIG hole in your logic there dude...
        athynz