Print 86 comment(s) - last by Miqunator.. on Jul 31 at 1:49 PM

Much of Apple's Mac computer lineup has been found in infringement of HTC's newly acquired intellectual property. This could lead to a ban on imports -- effectively a ban on sales -- in the U.S.  (Source: Cult of Mac)

Meanwhile, Apple has filed yet another ITC complaint against HTC, this time alleging that the new HTC Flyer tablet infringes on its intellectual property.  (Source: HTC)
Apple will have to pay up -- or negotiate a settlement

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has put Taiwan's HTC Corp. (SEO:066570) in a very bad spot.  The larger, more profitable gadget maker has hit HTC with a series of lawsuits worldwide, and recent scored a favorable preliminary ruling, which could lead to a complete ban on HTC handsets in the U.S.

But HTC appears to have some leverage, now.  In an unsealed ruling dating back to July 1, it has been declared that Apple infringed on intellectual property of recent HTC acquisition S3 Graphics.

The IP in question covers image compression techniques in software and hardware.  The U.S. International Trade Commission Judge James Gildea ruled that while Apple's popular iPad, iPhone, and iPod lines of mobile gadgets are not in violation of the IP, some of Apple's Mac OS X computers are.  

As NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) is a licensee, units with its GPUs are not in violation.  However, models with graphics by Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) or integrated graphics from Intel Corp.'s (INTC) (such as the newly refreshed MacBook Air lineup) are in violation.

The ruling thus clears the way for a partial ban on the import of Macs.  As virtually all Macs are manufactured outside the U.S. (mostly in Asia), this would be a major blow to Apple's booming computer lineup, which posted in $17.5B USD computer sales last year.

The judge also ruled that two of S3's patents in the case were invalid, and that some of the minor claims within the two valid patents were invalid.

While the ruling was "unsealed" (made official), it has not yet been made available to the public as the companies are reportedly quibbling about what constitutes redaction-worthy confidential information in the document. Bloomberg reported on the release, based on early information.

The ruling now goes before a full six judge ITC panel for confirmation.

While a ruling which found Apple's iPad and iPhone -- which accounted for 46 percent of its revenues last year -- would have been even better, the victory gives HTC substantial leverage to broker a cross-licensing agreement, which could save HTC from a similar import ban on its smart phones.

Meanwhile, Apple filed two weeks ago, on July 15, a new ITC complaint against the HTC Flyer tablet, which it says infringes on several of its patents.  Of course, if the companies can come to terms, HTC's tablet lineup would, in theory, be covered under a cross-licensing agreement, as well.

If the S3 IP can save HTC from Apple's litigious wrath, that $300M USD acquisition, which was blasted by investors, could just turn out to be a great deal.

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RE: Gotta love it...
By jhb116 on 7/27/2011 5:14:53 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed. It really gets tiring watching Apple taking concepts and/or products that ALREADY exist, highly refines them into a really good product then claiming they invented said product so they can sue the crap out of competitors when Apple can't refine said product any further and then the competition blows them away with either better products or (more likely) a much more open platform more easily accessible to the masses.

I the iPod was (and still is) a really good music player but there where many before it. The iPhone is still a really good phone but again wasn't the first and I seriously doubt was even the first with the style the claim to patent for that style. Ditto for the iPad.

I think the basic reason Apple draws some much fire is the idiotic patents they file - imagine Henry Ford Patenting a 4 wheeled motorized vehicle. If such a thing would have happened - he would have had a strangle hold on the market such things existing before. It would have been fair for him to patent the specific technologies associated with the mass production that he brought to the industry to force the other companies to figures out different specific production processes but not the concept of a 4 wheeled vehicle or mass production. Apple, similarly, needs slapped in the face for these stupid patents - ie shut up and continue to innovate and compete.

They don't get that they are losing (well kind of) against Google et al because of their business model. They still kick butt in profitability. It is the over-pricing, stupid patents and inherently closed system that prevents me from buying Apples products despite the fact that they are often better than their competitors.

RE: Gotta love it...
By vision33r on 7/28/11, Rating: 0
RE: Gotta love it...
By Miqunator on 7/31/2011 1:49:42 PM , Rating: 2

You pretty much stated my thoughts there but even though we can argue their morals (or lack of) they are only using a flawed system to its full extent, i.e. you can't blame them for having these silly patents. The blame should be with the system that approves said patents.

I'm not arguing against Apple being asses here though and I take great pleasure in trolling a few 'friends' that are open Apple zealots. I just try to not fall over into anti-Apple zealotry.

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith

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