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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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RE: Yay Capitalism!
By Tony Swash on 9/23/2011 1:34:16 PM , Rating: 1
The problem is that the problem requires much more data, specifically, the employment status of all those who commit suicide. How many people in the average are unemployed. How many work for other companies.

Yes, ignoring all other factors 7 is less than 9.9, but the world doesn't work that way. Its like the facts about marriage and divorce rates. People freak out about the "50%" divorce rate without ever looking at the rest of the needed info. The percentage of marriages that end in divorce include people who have been married any number of times.

Two people can have one lifelong marriage, while another two can have six all end in failure (2 people married 3 times each, all failing because the 2 people cannot be happy in a marriage). That leads to four people having an 85% divorce rate!

Got a bit off topic... but the point is valid. If everyone who commits suicide in China are unemployed, except those working at Foxconn, then there is a big problem with Foxconn.

The problem is that if someone claims that the Foxconn suicide rates are unusual the onus is on them to prove that or at least offer some data, a few facts perhaps, to back up such a claim.

Suicide data for China is hard to come by and scarce. The data I have found does not support the proposition that the suicide rate at Foxconn is unusually high. If anyone thinks it is unusually high then it's up to them offer some supporting evidence otherwise it just speculative piffle. I could claim that Elvis is alive and well and living in my loft and every time some argues against say ' but there is no evidence that my claim is false and I believe it strongly'. It's still speculative piffle.

RE: Yay Capitalism!
By acer905 on 9/25/2011 3:45:43 PM , Rating: 2
The data I have found does not support the proposition that the suicide rate at Foxconn is unusually high.

The data that you have found does not support anything, other than the notion that Chinese people at times will commit suicide. Nothing else can be properly inferred from such limited data. Therefore, it has no basis on a discussion about whether or not the suicide rate at Foxconn is abnormal.

If the burden of proof is on the person making a claim that the rate of suicide at Foxconn is abnormal, the same is true for the person saying that its perfectly normal. Your data does nothing to prove this, because it must make the assumption that every suicide happens with nothing driving it but being an average Chinese person.

The data I have found does not support the proposition that the suicide rate at Foxconn is [or is not] unusually high [because it fails to include any variables related to Foxconn in the least]

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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