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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 9/24/2011 6:08:18 AM , Rating: -1
Yes, I realize you have no idea WTF I am talking about.

You want to over simplify and that does not work when it ignores the relevant variables.

Your mistake was assuming that Foxconn employees are not ALSO a subset of the general population, that if you try to contrast their suicide rate, you also have to include that rate as part of the general population rate.

Believe what you like. Outsourcing aside, none of the companies I do business with have to install nets to try to save suicidal employees.

Ponder that.

I pondered. Still gibberish I am afraid. I understand that Apple scares you because it is the agent of change which you don't understand and don't much like but talking nonsense doesn't help your case much.

I am afraid you are still not making sense. For a start the general suicide rate is derived from general population of 1.3 billion so the rate of any group (Foxconn or otherwise) of a couple of million are going to only make a very small decimal point difference to the general population stats.

But more fundamentally I think you just don't understand stats (and of course generally clutch at straws when desperately seeking something you can attack Apple with).

Let's use this hypothetical example.

I have 200 neighbours in my street. The average rate of heart attacks for that group is 2.5 per year (measured over many years and averaged). Using the same measurement techniques and same measurement time period I measure the rate of heart attacks in those members of the 200 neighbours group who jog regularly. That rate turns out to be 1.7 heart attacks per year. That shows to me that the rate of heart attacks in the jogging group is lower than the general population even though the smaller jogging group comes from inside the larger population. It proves nothing about causality of course as correlation is not causality . But it does show valid statistical comparison.

So we have a general Chinese population with a suicide rate of X. We have a smaller group within that population (Foxconn workers) with a suicide rate of smaller than X. I say that that shows the Foxconn sub group has a lower than average suicide rate.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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