Apple deals massive patent blow to HTC

Apple deals massive patent blow to HTC, Android in serious trouble

Late yesterday an ITC judge ruled that smartphone maker HTC has infringed two Apple patents, and it seems likely that every single Android device out there infringes the same patents.

The two Apple patents that HTC is infringing are as follows:

???U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647 on a ???system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data.???
???U.S. Patent No. 6,343,263 on a ???real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data.???
This is a very significant development since these two patents are also in dispute between Apple and Motorola and Apple and Nokia. This decision is also landmark in that it is the first legal judgement that finds Android in infringement of third-party intellectual property rights.

Just how serious is this ruling for HTC? Very serious. The worst-case scenario is that the ITC imposes an US import ban against all of HTC??s Android products. That??s how serious this is for HTC.

According to intellectual property activist Florian Mueller, Apple is unlikely to grant HTC a license for these patents and might make a damages claim.

But it gets worse. This also has severe implications for all Android products on the market, irrespective of the maker, as Mueller also pointed out:

It??s hard to see how any Android device could not infringe them, or how companies could work around them.

Mueller has put together a chart showing how all Android devices infringe the same patents that HTC has been found infringe.

HTC claims that is has found ???alternate solutions??? to these patents, but Mueller isn??t optimistic:

But can those patents really be worked around? Standing in front of the Great Wall of China, you can also vow to walk around it. That doesn??t mean it??s a viable option.

And it seems that it is going to get worse as Android is at the center of 49 federal and ITC infringement suits.

This is serious stuff.

geek_swivel, Jul 19, 8:10 am

LOL typical ....
get a good product on the market, just to have it sunk on a copyrite issue.

geek_mrfxit, Jul 19, 8:13 am

TM will jump on this now.LOL

geek_swivel, Jul 19, 8:18 am

easy solution. all Asian countries ban Apple products. It would hurt Apple more I would think. Certain countries could then sell pirate Apple products for those who really want them and Apple gets no revenue from it.

geek_gilco2, Jul 19, 8:29 am

that would hurt them a LOT.........imagine if all countries said .......either drop this shit or we'll stop importing apple stuff.........they'd drop it fast.......they cant 'muscle in ' on the phone market like this practically as theres probably a billion android phones out there........what are they gonna do about that ? ......greed knows no bounds

geek_drcspy, Jul 19, 8:35 am

Google should just sue Apple for copying the pull-down notification bar in iOS5. Android had it from day 1.

geek_suicidemonkey, Jul 19, 8:36 am

Imagine Henry Ford successfully sued the next person who came along and copied the idea of putting a petrol motor on 4 wheeled frame.

geek_oclaf, Jul 19, 10:34 am

It's not quite that cut and dried - imagine if you created something and then someone decided it was pretty cool so they used their larger platform to sell it off and make more money from it than you.

I'm not technically advanced enough to understand exactly what these particular patents do, and I see that originally there were ten but eight were dropped so I would have to assume that the legal system are doing their job

geek_trey_dah, Jul 19, 5:51 pm

its just apple at thier best...sue sue sue and sue some more....those apple lawers must be the busiest in the world....get the **** over it apple...you do not own the worlds technology market...not everyone wants a little white box. apple are becoming very communist in thier approach to the world...if you don't like the opposition..kill them.

geek_fordcrzy, Jul 19, 7:44 pm

Florian Mueller is a professional FUD merchant, whose job seems to be to make a mountain out of any open-source molehill he can find. Ignore him.

geek_drsr, Jul 19, 7:55 pm

This is from a year or so ago but should still illustrate what a mess things are: http://thenextweb.com/mobile/2010/10/08/whos-suing-whom-in-mobile-infographic/

I can tell you the situation has only gotten more complex over the past year.

geek_vtecintegra, Jul 19, 8:16 pm


its not as easy as that , its more in how the code is compiled for that pull down notification bar to work.

geek_gregs-gadgets, Jul 19, 8:36 pm

LOL, Nokia has by far the most outstanding cases...

http://www.tumblr.com/photo/1280/1252039209/1/tumblr_l9ucqq8ZMD1qa34ge

geek_lostdude, Jul 19, 8:42 pm

The rumour is that HTC settled a while back with Microsoft, the guess is USD$5 per handset, some say that MS make more from HTC sales than they do from their own phone OS.

geek_remmers, Jul 19, 9:05 pm

There isn't any hard and fast rule as to what is and isn't patentable - Apple has sued over some pretty abstract concepts such as that example before too.

But I'm pretty sure the pull down notification bar was in other OSs before Android

geek_vtecintegra, Jul 19, 9:57 pm

The last time Apple went seriously apeshit with the lawyers they went out of business.

This is the best thing that can happen for the technology world. (again)

geek_foxdonut, Jul 19, 10:01 pm

One of the better arguments against software patents;
"If people had understood how patents would be granted when most
of today's ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry
would be at a complete standstill today." -- Bill Gates, 1991 http://www.wlug.org.nz/ChallengesAndStrategy

The purpose of patents is supposed to be to encourage innovation. Software patents quite indisputably have the opposite effect and need to be abolished.

geek_little_egypt, Jul 20, 11:13 am

hmmm...does this mean cheaper htc phones?

geek_deus701, Jul 20, 3:55 pm

I am technically advanced enough to have read and understood a small number of software patents (and then consulted with a networking expert who concurred with my interpretation) and I agree with the analogy. Many software patents are about the quality of Ford patenting "four wheels on a rigid body" -- completely useless for actually building anything, but broad enough that you can sue someone who later comes along and brings a product to market.

geek_little_egypt, Jul 20, 4:27 pm

More likely to be more expensive HTC phones. If Apple do win, instead of blocking HTC from using the patents, they'll probably charge a hefty commission for their use.

geek_suicidemonkey, Jul 20, 4:32 pm

Well as I said before USD$5 per handset seems to be the going rate, cheaper than spending a heap on R&D.

geek_remmers, Jul 20, 4:42 pm

Trouble is its highly likely they already spent the money on R&D only to inadvertently trip up on a patent that should never have been issued.

geek_vtecintegra, Jul 20, 5:15 pm

another reason to NOT BUY APPLE PRODUCTS!
like i said peole should be scared of the "apple world government" when all new technologies are controlled by apple because they patented some obscure aspect of future technology..if they keep patenting a small bit at a time then pretty soon the whole tech sector is stuffed.

geek_fordcrzy, Jul 20, 8:56 pm

Nokia hold the most patents of all the handset makers so are you applying this to them or just Apple products.

geek_remmers, Jul 20, 8:57 pm


what planet are you on? Seriously.

geek_-mung-, Jul 20, 9:02 pm

Short memory? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Computer,_Inc._v._Microsoft_Corporation

Not that I think it'll happen again, Apple is now in too strong a position

geek_vtecintegra, Jul 20, 9:43 pm

And with Microsoft basically in control of Nokia you can see where this is going.

geek_vtecintegra, Jul 20, 9:44 pm

Not the first bit, but suggesting that apple going out of business would be the best thing for the tech world.

geek_-mung-, Jul 20, 10:18 pm

I think you mean Benz.

geek_wpmoore, Jul 21, 12:48 am

Not really, all those tech companies are continually suing each other, they protect their IP, Apple discovered long ago what happens when you don??t. All that ends up happening is they pay royalties to each other.

geek_malachiman, Jul 21, 10:18 am

You do bring up a point, but patents that shouldn??t have been issued apply across the whole field of technology.

geek_malachiman, Jul 21, 10:20 am

Sure... did you see what the smart phones look liked before Apple released the iPhone, I used to use them. I have no desire to go back to that.

geek_malachiman, Jul 21, 10:22 am

The way software patents usually work out in real life;
http://xkcd.com/827/

geek_little_egypt, Jul 21, 12:23 pm

Yeah that is the problem.

Especially when companies give up on actually shipping products and instead focus on buying up IP to become patent trolls (not talking about Apple obviously)

geek_vtecintegra, Jul 21, 1:26 pm

+1

if wasn't for iphone i'll still be in symbian(arghh..)
apple should remain in market as an expensive designer IT accessories manufacturer and not a whine and complain

geek_73040, Jul 22, 12:16 am