Feeds

Apple flings patent lawsuit at HTC (again)

Déjà vu all over again. But with new targets

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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.

The complaint was filed with US International Trade Commission (USITC) on Friday, Bloomberg reports, and was revealed in a brief notice on the USITC website.

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."

HTC then filed a retailiatory countersuit in May, which was followed by an Apple countermove in June that added two more patents to the original 20.

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.