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Top chipset maker VIA Technologies claims Apple ripped off its intellectual property to make the iPhone and iPad.  (Source: Hornberger Worstell)

VIA has aligned itself with the Android handset makers in their global patent conflict with Apple.
Apple could soon find itself in a similar situation to rival Samsung

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) is currently riding high on its victory over rival Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (SEO 005930) in Germany.  German courts sided with Apple and banned sales of Samsung's tablets, as they say Apple owns exclusive rights to minimalist tablet designs.  As reports indicate that Samsung is currently the only major Android company currently coming close to rivaling Apple in sales, Apple for now enjoys a court-enforced monopoly on the tablet market for the time being.

Now, Taiwanese motherboard, CPU, and chipset maker VIA Technologies, Inc. (TPE:2388) has just filed suit in U.S. Federal Court in Delaware, seeking to ban sales of Apple's iPad and iPhone, which it says infringe upon three of its U.S. patents.  VIA is also seeking damages and has asked for a trial by jury.

VIA writes, according to a copy of the complaint 
obtained by Bloomberg, "The products at issue generally concern microprocessors included in a variety of electronic products such as certain smartphones, tablet computers, portable media players and other computing devices."

The company seems in good position to see success.  The Delaware court is known as a plaintiff friendly region, akin to the Eastern District Federal Court of Texas.

For VIA the suit is somewhat personal, as the company has close ties to "patent poor" HTC Corp. (
SEO:066570), a recent target of Apple's intellectual property aggression.  VIA recently sold its S3 Graphics subsidiary to HTC for $300M USD.  VIA had already won a lawsuit against Apple for patents held by S3 -- HTC is now using that victory to try to force Apple to cross license the IP that would allow it to continue to sell Android tablets and smartphones in the U.S. and other regions.

Unlike with Samsung, HTC, Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V),or Google, Inc. (GOOG) subsidiary Motorola Mobility, VIA likely does not make any products that Apple can target in countersuits.

Apple started the patent war last year 
by suing HTC claiming infringements on various technology patents (such as interrupt-based processor undervolting) and its iPad/iPhone design patents.  Since then the war has swept the globe, reaching WWII-esque proportions.  On one side sits Samsung, Google, and HTC (and effectively, VIA); on the other side sits Apple.  

The Android team has been arming themselves.  Aside from the S3 acquisition, Google's
purchase of Motorola served to consolidate the manufacturers patents for use by the greater Android coalition.  And Google recently purchased 1,000 patents from International Business Machines, Inc. (IBM) to further aid in the defense of Android.

The escalation poses significant risk to Apple's bottom line.  While there's a small chance the company will be able to leverage the lawsuits to retain tablet market dominance and regain dominance in the smartphone sector, there's a strong possibility that the plan make backfire.  If the Android allies win their countersuits [
1][2], Apple may see its own products banned.  Furthermore, many have suggested that Apple's campaign may be hurting Apple's "cool" brand image.  After all, as one top blogger told DailyTech, "It's hard to seem cool when you're suing everybody."

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By Tony Swash on 9/22/2011 5:56:46 PM , Rating: -1
Meanwhile no coverage here of the collapse of the talks between Ellison and Page (boy I would love to have sat in that one) to try resolve the Oracle legal action against Google over the Java code in Android. Based on revealed documents it looks like Oracle is pushing hard for a finding of wilful infringement and an immediate injunction against all distributions of Android, damages and a permanent and probably high (if backed by the force of an injunction) licence fee. This is the biggest legal game in town and so far it doesn't look great for Google who have tried, unsuccessfully so far, to get extremely damaging evidence ruled inadmissible on a technicality. This legal case dwarfs all others and could kill or maim Android. It may go for trial very soon if Google cannot delay it.

Worth checking out the coverage at FOSS patents as the commentary there seems the most detailed.

RE: Meanwhile....
By retrospooty on 9/22/2011 6:06:58 PM , Rating: 2
Anything we can do to direct attention away from Apple's negative story here eh Tony?

What exactly is your agenda?


RE: Meanwhile....
By Tony Swash on 9/22/11, Rating: -1
RE: Meanwhile....
By retrospooty on 9/23/2011 7:49:38 AM , Rating: 2
Your agenda is about as transparent as it can possibly be.

When is the last time you posted a comment on something that wasn't Apple related?

RE: Meanwhile....
By Tony Swash on 9/23/2011 10:55:47 AM , Rating: 1
When is the last time you posted a comment on something that wasn't Apple related?



RE: Meanwhile....
By retrospooty on 9/23/2011 11:58:46 AM , Rating: 2
OMG... One post in a whole month. That's more than I thought there were, but still does little to change the obvious fact that you are here on an agenda.

It's one thing to like a particular product and post about it and be open for discussion, but you are here strictly to defend every action Apple takes and every product they make. I understand why some people like Apple products, and I am glad for Apple's existence to make the rest of hte industry stay on their toes. But you ignore any postitive points about competing companies, and ignore any negative points about Apple while you ignore any negative points about Apple, and ignore any positive points about Competing companies.

You dont see a problem with this though do ya?

RE: Meanwhile....
By themaster08 on 9/23/11, Rating: -1
"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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