Apple flings patent lawsuit at HTC (again)
Déjà vu all over again. But with new targets
Apple has ratcheted up its attack on Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC, filing a second patent-infringement complaint that, if successful, could bar HTC products from being imported into the US.
If you're feeling a wee frisson of déjà vu, that's understandable. Apple sued HTC in March 2010 for patent infringement, alleging violation of Apple-held patents covering user interface, hardware, and "underlying architecture". That case was filed both with the USITC and in US federal court against the manufacturer of such Android-based phones as the Sensation, Wildfire S, Desire S, and ChaCha, and the Android-based Flyer tablet.
At that time, Apple CEO Steve Jobs issued a statement saying: "We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We've decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."
It's not yet known exactly which patents Apple is alleging that HTC has violated in its latest USITC complaint, but it's of interest that the new complaint classes the violating products to be "Portable Electronic Devices and Related Software", while the March 2010 complaint involved "Personal Data and Mobile Communications Devices and Related Software".
It seems that Cupertino may have the Flyer and its follow-on tablets in its sights.
A USITC judge is scheduled to issue a decision on the March 2010 complaint on August 5, but that won't be the final world on whether HTC products will be banned from US importation – the full USITC panel will make that determination later this year.
As for Apple's most recent complaint, don't expect a decision anytime soon – the March 2010 complaint took 17 months between its filing and the August 5 preliminary decision. At that rate, the new complaint won't be rulled upon until December 2012 – and then there will be additional time before the full panel rules.
From now until the end of next year is an eternity in the smartphone and tablet markets – remember, the "magical and revolutionary" iPad has been in the wild for a mere 15 months, and look at how much has changed in the mobile marketplace since its frenzied debut.
Apple's latest patent-infringement complaint against HTC is as much about sowing uncertainty as it is about actually preventing products from being imported into the US.
Or maybe Apple is just miffed that HTC has joined with Microsoft, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson to fight Apple's attempt to trademark the term "App Store" in Europe. ®
You're so wrong I wonder if you're being ironic
The human hand and widescreen movie dimensions define the optimal size and shape of a smartphone. But whereas Apple only does 1 size/type, HTC has varied their offerings in both size (eg Wildfire, Desire, Desire HD) and form factor (eg Desire Z and Cha Cha). Apple didn't come out with these designs at all, let alone first. Only HTC has variation. In fact, you can even get a choice of operating system in HTC phones!
As for the software, Apple has a boring grid of apps as the main way into the phone's functionality, all with the same size and shape of icon. HTC has widgets, differently sized icons and all sorts of different shapes (eg globe, bird, camera and torch shapes). Once HTC's apps menu is accessed it can be customised to display either as a grid or as a list. So again, the variation is with HTC.
HTC has a neat, discreet notifications panel, with customisable notifications. Apple has copied this. HTC has a special menu for accessing the last few apps used. Apple has copied this. HTC always had wireless sync, Apple has now added wireless sync, The innovation is with Android.
It's true that the apps being displayed in a grid and the settings being displayed in scrollable lists is common to both interfaces. But it's also common to the Orange SPV, way back in the day. Guess which company out of HTC and Apple made that one? But it was Microsoft which did the OS. The form factor of that one was dictated by the price, availability and performance of touch screen glass. In 2007 when Microsoft announced Surface, and Apple announced the less amazing iphone (which limited gestures to push, drag and pinch), this was cheap and accurate enough to make a phone out of.
The one area where it seems Apple has a clear lead is propaganda. But technical and design innovation comes from all quarters.
HTC: Has demonstrated innovation, therefore a target
HTC is one of the thorns in the side of Apple, because it produces products which give an experience which shows Apple's products a trick or ten.
Therefore it must be crushed!
I like HTC's products. They give me a good alternative to the world of Apple, and anything that helps keep itunes out of my life is a good thing.
Do Yanks do anything else?
Litigate, litigate, litigate. Fanbois will buy Apple products because they like them, personally I'm ambivalent about their products, but they are starting to piss me off with ridiculous and frankly pointless lawsuits.
the Iphone looks very similar to the Sony Ericsson P800 with the keypad removed completely, the p800 was out 5 years before the iphone
I am not commenting.
If I did it would never get through the moderators and posted because of the language I would use.
I bought an HTC Android after comparing feature sets and looking at the way it operates in comparison with Apple. With an HTC I get multiple choices in "App Stores". With Apple I get one.
Apple lost against Microsoft in court way back for 'stealing' Apples GUI. That precedent alone invalidates a third of the lawsuit against HTC. The remaining 2/3's is based on patents that should never have been granted. Keep pushing Apple. One day the Supreme Court will trash your "patents" in the way they should have been squashed by the Trade and Patent Office when they were applied for. One day (one hopes) common sense will rule again.