Print 74 comment(s) - last by Gurthang.. on Jul 18 at 11:54 AM

HTC is fighting for its survival against a lawsuit-zealous Apple.  (Source: Reuters / Pichi Chuang)
Is Apple trying to kill the free market? HTC's law team thinks so

HTC Corp.'s (SEO:066570) general counsel, Grace Lei, issued a scathing analysis of competitor Apple, Inc. (AAPL) to the Agence France Press (AFP), commenting, "HTC is disappointed at Apple's constant attempts at litigations instead of competing fairly in the market. HTC strongly denies all infringement claims by Apple in the past and present and reiterates our determination and commitment to protect our intellectual property rights."

Those harsh words come as the gadget maker is fighting for its very survival in the face of Apple's legal harassment.  Apple is seeking a temporary injunction that would block shipments of product in the U.S., essentially killing HTC's sales.

Apple chief Steve Jobs accuses HTC and other Android phone makers of conspiring to "steal" "innovation" from his iPhone.  He claims that Android phone makers copied the iPhone's look, which was protected under a design patent.  He also claims Android phone makers infringed on his company's patent on undervolting a CPU via interrupt and on multi-touch gestures such as the "pinch" movement.  Apple has sued HTC in multiple countries.

HTC has vigorously defended itself, complaining that Apple's patents are overly generic and obvious.  It has filed countersuit against Apple.

Apple is also suing Motorola Solutions Inc. (MSI) and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (SEO:005930), the other two biggest manufacturers of Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android operating system.  Android smart phones outsold Apple's iPhone over 2 to 1 globally in the last quarter.

HTC rose from relative obscurity by becoming one of the first phone makers to wholeheartedly embrace Android.  Today it is one of the most prominent Android phone makers on the market.

The AFP report contains a minor error in that it states that Apple and Finland's Nokia (HEL:NOK1V) are currently suing each other.  Those suits have actually been settled by both parties under a licensing agreement.

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By cjohnson2136 on 7/12/2011 2:47:48 PM , Rating: 2
where is he cause he is the new and worse Tony Swash

Tony will at least give an argument.

RE: macdevdude
By macdevdude on 7/12/11, Rating: -1
RE: macdevdude
By ClownPuncher on 7/12/2011 3:16:00 PM , Rating: 4
I guess Apple will have to prove HTC ripped anything off from them instead of using stock values as "proof" that one company is right while the other is wrong.

RE: macdevdude
By dark matter on 7/12/2011 3:29:33 PM , Rating: 1
Tony Swash, is that you?

RE: macdevdude
By Tony Swash on 7/12/11, Rating: -1
RE: macdevdude
By ClownPuncher on 7/12/2011 7:03:04 PM , Rating: 5
While you were posting this? Cold, man.

RE: macdevdude
By vol7ron on 7/15/2011 10:46:50 PM , Rating: 2
Tony is busy at the hospital. While he was away his PC battled his Mac. After a ferocious battle of "you can't do this" and "you can't keep out this"... it won. His post was auto-generated by his PC in his absence.

RE: macdevdude
By Kalessian on 7/12/2011 11:37:30 PM , Rating: 2
There's an app for that.

RE: macdevdude
By chick0n on 7/13/11, Rating: 0
RE: macdevdude
By hexxthalion on 7/13/2011 10:50:15 AM , Rating: 4
sorry to hear that dude

RE: macdevdude
By bug77 on 7/12/2011 4:15:46 PM , Rating: 5
What do you think, should TV manufacturers start suing each other? Cause their products sure look the same. Or maybe Nikon should sue Canon over DSLRs?

It's a friggin' screen that's flat, how else is it supposed to look like?

RE: macdevdude
By KaTaR on 7/12/2011 5:00:13 PM , Rating: 5
Where are you getting your fictional stock price info from?

In 2006 HTC stock price:
Low: TWD 227 ($7)
High TWD 423 ($13.5)

In 2011 HTC stock price:
Low: TWD 848 ($30)
High: TWD 1,300 ($45)

Depending on when you bought it you would have made a similar amount. HTC also has been paying a consistent 5.5% dividend each year during the period. Apple pays nothing despite having a ton of cash.

If you are going to wheel out 'good for shareholders' get your facts straight.

RE: macdevdude
RE: macdevdude
By KaTaR on 7/12/2011 6:04:36 PM , Rating: 1
Better yet, I have a Bloomberg Terminal.
I can tell you their stock price for any day since they listed on March 25, 2002.

RE: macdevdude
By Cheesew1z69 on 7/12/2011 6:28:05 PM , Rating: 1
Great for you, but you claim the numbers he posted are wrong, they aren't. Not sure where you got your numbers from.

RE: macdevdude
By KaTaR on 7/12/2011 7:05:24 PM , Rating: 4
My numbers are 100% correct.

In 2006 HTC (2498 TT) traded between 229.8 (low on Jan 3, 2006) and 428.38 (high on May 4, 2006). There was no 800 print during the year. The stock never hit 800 in its history until Nov 2010.

This is the software terminal that professionals use and costs over $2,000 per month. Whatever free web site you are getting your info from it's wrong.

RE: macdevdude
By borismkv on 7/12/2011 7:55:33 PM , Rating: 2
and the terminal is called...?

RE: macdevdude
By borismkv on 7/12/2011 8:04:49 PM , Rating: 2
Never mind this post...

RE: macdevdude
By borismkv on 7/12/2011 8:04:20 PM , Rating: 2
Baron's puts the 2006 average for HTC at about 250ish.

RE: macdevdude
By GulWestfale on 7/12/2011 10:28:32 PM , Rating: 3
HTC is telling it like it is: crapple cannot compete against a whole legion of smartphones with its one iphone model (that can't make calls without a bumper lol), so they sue to get some attention.

i hope one day they will get a judge who sees through their bullshit, and fines them a billion or two for wasting the court's time and the taxpayer's money.

RE: macdevdude
By bigboxes on 7/13/2011 1:10:13 AM , Rating: 1
reader1, is that you?

RE: macdevdude
By mackx on 7/13/11, Rating: 0
Sue happy
By Belard on 7/13/2011 12:39:42 AM , Rating: 2
Apple needs to stop being stupid on this.

Instead of buying an iPad3-whatever, I may switch to Android by Samsung in-spite of Apple.

They have the upper hand in software-tech-appstore-itunes...

Stupid lawsuits like this is a waste of time.

*IF* Android was causing them patent problems, why did it take them 2-3 years to get around to it?

RE: Sue happy
By robinthakur on 7/13/2011 5:05:51 AM , Rating: 2
I do agree, Apple should have sued a long long time ago back when the iPhone and 3G came out and all those other touch based 'competitors' were released. I suppose they weren't really seen as a threat then, as none of them were worth a damn.

Having said that, since the Samsung Galaxy S, I have noticed that the other manufacturers are aping the design of the iPhone and Pad alot more closely, probably because they know that Apple's designs sell themselves based on their looks. As none of their alternative attempts at similar branding have been successful thus far, the strategy of outright copying the look of their competitors was a winning strategy upto the point that the lawsuits started flying.

Those that question whether a Galaxy S looks like a knocked off iPhone 3GS or whether a Galaxy 2 looks like a rip off iPhone4 (this is true for many other manufacturers also) need to take a step back and consider the similarities of both designs to a lay person and enumerate the number of ways they differ without close analysis. This problem is unique to Apple because it alone is known for its design-work, and that rightfully should be protected, in my opinion. While many of the design USP's might now be obvious in hindsight, did they occur in the market before Apple implemented them? If not, then it is entirely correct for Apple to sue, and people shzould not be blinded by their hatred of Apple or Steve Jobs not to realise this.

RE: Sue happy
By Strunf on 7/13/2011 7:35:32 AM , Rating: 5
Do you realize the LG Prada was the FIRST smart-phone with capacitive touchscreen? maybe they should have sued Apple when they released the iPhone.

The fact was that by the end of 2006 EVERYONE was planing on touchscreen phones, Apple announced the iPhone on january cause they knew the next month there was going to be a major phone exposition where everyone else would be showing touchscreen phones. They did it with their usual efficient marketing campaign in a way they seemed to be first when LG was the real first and Apple was just following the trend!

RE: Sue happy
By Gurthang on 7/18/2011 11:54:00 AM , Rating: 2
IMHO the design patent is bogus. Any touch screen phone will have as large a screen as big as they can fit with a few tactile buttons sprinkled around the body for use when the phone is asleep or in use against your face. The design is so obvious and is essentially a rip-off of the orginal PDA designs of many moons ago only now they have a phone built in.

Do some devices get unconfortabily close to the iPhone "look", sure but are they so close that you cannot tell them apart. No. Are they ripping off Apple? Only the designers know but sometimes things are similar just because they have to be.

By KillerNoodle on 7/12/2011 3:30:34 PM , Rating: 3
Apple is also suing Motorola Solutions Inc. (MSI) and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (SEO:005930), the other two manufacturers of Google Inc.'s Android operating system (GOOG). Android smart phones outsold Apple's iPhone over 2 to 1 globally in the last quarter.

The bold part just sounds incorrect seeing as to how they manufacture phones and modify the OS, not manufacture the OS.

RE: ...
By kitonne on 7/13/2011 3:24:16 PM , Rating: 2
Motorola has enough patents related to the basic RF portions of the phone and cell to cell handout of a moving phone to counter-sue Apple out of existence. Historically, Motorola has not enforced their IP as aggesively as they could, but it is virtually impossible to make a cellular phone without stepping on one of their patents. I think Apple did not think this one over....

RE: ...
By Camikazi on 7/14/2011 11:52:43 AM , Rating: 2
That is cause Motorola, like them or not, knows those patents are vital to the industry and aren't douchbaggish enough to try and destroy the industry just to up themselves. Apple doesn't care about the industry or about innovation, they just want control and will do anything they can to get it, even if it ends up hurting the consumers.

Apple is a shameful company
By masamasa on 7/12/2011 4:33:33 PM , Rating: 5
I'll never buy their products in the future (made the mistake in the past) due to the malicious operating tactics and strategy behind their products and company. I'll be sure to recommend to everyone I know not to buy their products as well.

RE: Apple is a shameful company
By BZDTemp on 7/13/2011 4:26:55 AM , Rating: 1

Apple has become as bad if not worse than Microsoft. IBM was once like that also but has fortunately changed their ways, maybe Apple will do so also once Jobs moves on.

Big talk for such a small company
By vision33r on 7/12/2011 8:16:35 PM , Rating: 3
Apple has more lawyers than HTC has engineers. Right now, it isn't about going to trial. HTC will have to pay legal fees to handle every suit filed against them. WSJ has reported the legal fees will skyrocket pass their profits. Soon, they will abandon their Android phones and hop over to Microsoft's WP7 as Google does not have any litigation protection powers.

By madoka on 7/13/2011 1:18:07 PM , Rating: 2
Whenever I see a DT article title that sounds like it was written by a drama queen, 95% of the time it's written by Jason Mick.

And in other news
By fatbaldandhappy on 7/13/2011 4:05:42 PM , Rating: 2
...water is wet.

By vavavangv on 7/13/2011 11:52:11 PM , Rating: 2
I tide fashion Good-looking, not expensive Free transport

By vavavangv on 7/13/2011 11:52:58 PM , Rating: 2
I tide fashion Good-looking, not expensive Free transport

By BZDTemp on 7/13/2011 4:00:56 AM , Rating: 1
Sure, the US is a big market but certainly not the only one and I think DT needs to realize this (along with much of the US that still thinks the it's the center of the world).

The US is certainly very important but it's loosing importance and the sick patent system is not helping.

The black kettle
By nafhan on 7/12/11, Rating: -1
RE: The black kettle
By Reclaimer77 on 7/12/2011 3:03:08 PM , Rating: 2
You're way off base.

RE: The black kettle
By nafhan on 7/12/11, Rating: 0
RE: The black kettle
By ClownPuncher on 7/12/2011 3:17:59 PM , Rating: 2
Their company could easily be crushed by Apple if the Jobs has his way. They don't come across as being particularly whiny.

RE: The black kettle
By nafhan on 7/12/2011 5:26:19 PM , Rating: 5
So... I looked up drama queen on Wikipedia:
Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as a personality disorder characterized by a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention-seeking, including an excessive need for approval and inappropriately seductive behavior, usually beginning in early adulthood. These individuals are lively, dramatic, vivacious, enthusiastic, and flirtatious.
Sounds more like the stereotypical Apple product user. :)

RE: The black kettle
By Iaiken on 7/12/2011 3:21:01 PM , Rating: 5
Apple's patents are overly generic and obvious

You'd think the first clue was that basically every phone from every manufacturer follows all of the same design queues.

Almost all of the ideas present in the iPhone were present in the LG Prada. Sure the Prada sucked and was expensive because of licensing from Prada, but both companies arrived at practically the exact same destination, independent from one another.

Apple has no ground on which to stand here. I wish them a long fall from grace and a hard landing.

RE: The black kettle
By quiksilvr on 7/12/2011 3:31:35 PM , Rating: 3
They are getting desperate. They are already behind in smartphone sales and are worried about the tablet market being taken out by Android as well. The iPod Touch is fading out of existence and their laptop/PC sales are number 5 globally.

Apple doesn't like racing behind. But instead of running the race fairly, they're trying to shoot the people ahead of it.

RE: The black kettle
By inperfectdarkness on 7/12/2011 5:30:30 PM , Rating: 2
apple, the "last boy scout" of technology. i like that.

RE: The black kettle
By cmdrdredd on 7/12/2011 10:02:46 PM , Rating: 2
They are getting desperate. They are already behind in smartphone sales and are worried about the tablet market being taken out by Android as well. The iPod Touch is fading out of existence and their laptop/PC sales are number 5 globally.

perhaps you're right. What I also can see is that maybe Apple is way too behind on technology compared to HTC. HTC has 3D phones and the Thunderbolt was the most expensive phone and really a marvel of engineering to fit all the antennas and chips inside the device. The thunderbolt is plagued with software issues however, but still HTC is pushing the envelope and they don't tell you you're holding the phone wrong when you get bad reception. So in light of these little facts, Apple has to try to force HTC to stop making phones that are better than the iPhone.

RE: The black kettle
By theapparition on 7/12/2011 4:19:42 PM , Rating: 3
The Prada wasn't even "the first".

Plenty of other touch screen black rectangles existed before the iPhone or Prada. Look at a device like the Dell Axim x50 (ironically, designed and manufactured by HTC). Even has a bottom center button, and that predates the iPhone by years. Apple's design patent only covers devices that look virtually identical. This is going nowhere.

However, they may have some legal ammunition regarding the multi-touch and undervolting. Both of these will not be cause for a judge to issue a PI though. In the end, I'm confident they'll work out a cross licensing agreement.

As for fanboys on both sides, chill out. This is just legal posturing, done by all companies. It's how you play the game. Unfortunate, but that's what happens when you have a society that has been crafted by lawyers.

RE: The black kettle
By Iaiken on 7/12/2011 4:43:47 PM , Rating: 4
However, they may have some legal ammunition regarding the multi-touch


Bill Buxton wrote his dissertation on multi-touch and gestures as input to an OS via touch screen back in 1984 and it was published by the University of Toronto in April of 1985. He also has the common decency to recognize that he was standing on the shoulders of other giants.

To put it in perspective, my group at the University of Toronto was working on multi-touchin 1984 (Lee, Buxton & Smith, 1985), the same year that the first Macintosh computer was released, and we were not the first.

Even if Buxton and company had patented it and Apple had purchased the patent from them, it's 17 year term would have expired in 2002.

and undervolting.

Intel and AMD likewise have numerous patents (33 between them) pertaining to the use of software to undervolt hardware as a power saving feature. So there is a long history of prior art there as well.

Apple has got sweet-f***-all...

RE: The black kettle
By Solandri on 7/12/2011 5:05:10 PM , Rating: 4
Apple's undervolting patent is basically "undervolting the CPU on a phone". It's as bad as all those stupid business patents which tacked on "on the Internet" to ordinary business ideas which have been in use for decades and sometimes centuries.

RE: The black kettle
By redbone75 on 7/12/2011 11:50:26 PM , Rating: 2
And thus it should be invalidated. No one should be allowed to wrap a set of protocols around an existing technology and then claim they've invented something new. Patent system overhaul ftw!

RE: The black kettle
By kitonne on 7/13/2011 3:17:45 PM , Rating: 2
Undervolting to reduce power - part of basic Circuits curiculum, when I went through school, 1982-1983 time frame. Maybe somebody needs to pick up a book on basic circuits from the library and READ it :) Micros have done it since forever, see Z8 family from Zilog (remember them?), pick up a 1988 data book for a refresher - you could step down the voltage supply while the micro was in "sleep mode" and going in and out of sleep mode was under program control (as well as external events). Yes, you had to have a couple more parts in your circuit to cut down voltage supply and bring it up on demand, but prior art is there....

RE: The black kettle
By sprockkets on 7/12/2011 7:44:09 PM , Rating: 2
It's the first capacitive touch screen phone I know of.

Let's face it, there is more to an iphone than just "pinch to zoom", but that's all Steve sues over. All the other stuff is just "hired muscle."

RE: The black kettle
By vision33r on 7/12/2011 9:25:56 PM , Rating: 2
These suits is just a small volley, HTC has not even seen the beginning of the 6000+ Nortel Patents recently acquired. Apple is hitting them with lawsuits after lawsuits until HTC runs out of money.

You guys clearly have no clue what's coming for HTC.

RE: The black kettle
By cmdrdredd on 7/12/2011 10:07:10 PM , Rating: 2
Or Google, I think at some point Google will step in and back the companies that support their OS. They make money after all.

This couldn't be fixed by saying "we don't make phones with multi touch. "We make pocket sized computers that have the ability to make calls over a wireless network."

RE: The black kettle
By xpax on 7/12/2011 10:16:06 PM , Rating: 2
You guys clearly have no clue what's coming for HTC.

The patents aren't owned solely by Apple, but by a purchasing group which includes many companies (Apple, Microsoft, Research in Motion, EMC, Ericsson and Sony).

If any of those patents pose an issue, I'm sure that they too can be licensed.

The fact of the matter as it stands, Nortel not withstanding, is that Apple is a patent troll. They patent things which are blatantly obvious, have more prior art than the Louvre, and won't stand up against anything or anyone but the most brain-dead judge.

Trade dress? Make me laugh. There are only so many ways you can design a phone, and the iPhone has never been particularly innovative or differentiated in that regard. It's a black square, possibly with a different color backplate.

RE: The black kettle
By themaster08 on 7/13/2011 2:38:14 AM , Rating: 2
Trade dress? Make me laugh. There are only so many ways you can design a phone, and the iPhone has never been particularly innovative or differentiated in that regard. It's a black square, possibly with a different color backplate.
Agreed. It's their stupid problem that they used such a generic, basic, previously used design as their trade dress. Their design icon is near impossible to not "infringe" upon, particularly for the touchscreens of nowadays.

If "trade dress" is all they have to defend themselves, then that just goes to show the lack of innovation coming from Cupertino. Another case of Apple using their market influence to stifle the competition, with patents that should have never been granted, and ones that sure as hell will be invalidated when masses of prior art is revealed in the courts.

HTC are spot on with their words. I just hope that they come out on top of all of this. They are one of the few manufacturers that seem to know what their customers really want, how to treat them, and how to defend them.

RE: The black kettle
By justjc on 7/17/2011 7:20:58 AM , Rating: 2
Then you don't know of the LG Prada, available in the UK from April 2007, widely known as the first mobile with a capacitive touchscreen.

As for the first sighting the LG KE850(Prada) must have been available as a working prototype in the spring off 2006, when the iPhone was just a rumour, in order to win the iF Design Award prize, that made the phone public, in September 2006.

RE: The black kettle
By MisterHC on 7/13/2011 12:30:18 AM , Rating: 2
But surely the X50 was a crude rip-off of the Apple Newton! remember what a success that was!

RE: The black kettle
By Belard on 7/13/2011 12:34:42 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, the Newton did very well. Jobs killed it when he returned to Apple.

By nananan on 7/12/11, Rating: -1
I don't understand.
By DeathBooger on 7/12/11, Rating: -1
RE: I don't understand.
By sentico on 7/12/2011 4:21:47 PM , Rating: 2
Why does everyone think that Apple is worried about Android taking over? Apple makes a single device that is only on two carriers. Android has like what, 20 or 30 devices on the market? I would hope they would be collectively outselling the iPhone by a lot more than 2 to 1. If they're not, then I don't think Apple is worried about that aspect. I think the lawsuit is silly, but this factor doesn't add up for me.

Why does everyone think that Apple only released their iphone for 2 carriers on this entire planet?

RE: I don't understand.
By monitorjbl on 7/12/2011 5:12:53 PM , Rating: 5
America isn't the entire planet?

RE: I don't understand.
By Fritzr on 7/12/2011 6:00:03 PM , Rating: 2
In this context it simply means that iPhone is ONLY available from 2 US carriers and is available (legally) on no other carrier on Earth. The fact that the only source is US implies that these are the only source on Earth. Just as Siamese Cats are also Cats.

That said...Apple iPhones are now available in multiple countries and come September will be released in additional countries where they are not currently sold by local companies. Apple also currently sells unlocked iPhones that can be used with any GSM network compatible with unlocked phones (there are some networks requiring proprietary firmware, but those are not too common)

RE: I don't understand.
By lukarak on 7/15/2011 3:44:46 PM , Rating: 2
That is true, but... You can't compare the whole android sales with apple, because they are not the same thing. It's like saying that Audi sells more cars than Ferrari. Sure it does, and their lineups do overlap somewhat (R8) but it also makes a ton of cheaper cars. It's the same thing with Android.

RE: I don't understand.
By Skelum on 7/13/2011 9:04:39 AM , Rating: 2
The law suit is for the US... Which is also Apple biggest market. In the context of the article is was right stating that the iPhone is available with two carrier only.

I don't think apple is doing good numbers in Asia.

RE: I don't understand.
By vignyan on 7/12/2011 5:44:58 PM , Rating: 1
Apple has more than 53% of the stock price depending on the iphone sales. They are like the US dependent on China. Iphone is China here!(Ironic, Iphone is made in China!) :P

If Apple's "pinch to zoom" patent is so obvious
By Pirks on 7/12/11, Rating: -1
By seamonkey79 on 7/12/2011 6:26:28 PM , Rating: 5
The best part of your little 'dig' is that you said "the other losers" which would put Apple in the category of "loser"

By Skelum on 7/13/2011 9:01:16 AM , Rating: 2
Because obvious patents don't stand in court.

The patent office isn't run by any judges...

RE: If Apple's "pinch to zoom" patent is so obvious
By FTM0305 on 7/13/2011 10:20:33 AM , Rating: 1
I'm pretty sure I saw this "pinching" motion back in 2002 film minority Report with top cruise using his futuristic computer... First iphone was released in 2007. So a film depicted a future feature of computers. This may well put such features in the realm of fair use.

You got owned by Tom Cruise. That's sad.

RE: If Apple's "pinch to zoom" patent is so obvious
By Pirks on 7/13/2011 11:59:35 AM , Rating: 1
So why Apple was first to implement this Tom Cruise-style pinch stuff on a phone, not the other guys ?

I see no one is capable of answering my question, everybody is only wiggling and downrating. Means my question hit a sore spot of a few PC trolls here. Nice.

Keep downrating idiots, I enjoy your consfusion and hatred caused by my tricky question :P Downrate me some more please :)))

By FTM0305 on 7/13/2011 5:46:37 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't matter if Apple implemented it first, they can't successfully defend a patent that has ideas that come from science fiction. The idea is readily available to others and becomes obvious. Its entered the world of Fair Use.

So it comes down to this: If Apple pursues legal action against HTC they will risk having their Patent regarding this pinching re-examined, more than likely claims 1-10 of the patent will be thrown out for being too general.

Thus you can't patent a gesture and successfully defend it.

I have a gesture for apple. It involves my middle finger.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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