Apple wins round in patent dispute against HTC

The U.S. International Trade Commission has given Apple a victory in its patent dispute against Android mobile phone maker HTC. News.com reports that the ITC has ruled that HTC has violated two of the patents that are owned by Apple. The two patents in question deal with a "system and method for performing an action on a structure in a computer" and a "real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data." Apple filed a complaint against HTC over 10 patents back in March 2010.

HTC has already announced it will be appealing the ITC's decision, saying, "This is only one step of many in these legal proceedings." Apple choose to refer to a previous statement from its CEO Steve Jobs in the case, where he said, "We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."

This decision is a major loss for HTC. If it loses the appeal it will have to make some kind of settlement deal with Apple. It could also affect the Android operating system in general. The article states that the patents that are under dispute "make up the core of Android's operating system, and could have repercussions on all Android handset manufacturers."

Earlier this week, Apple filed yet another patent dispute against HTC, claiming that the company had violated five more Apple patents. Earlier this month, HTC announced that it was acquiring S3 Graphics. The move was made in part to secure patents owned by S3 Graphics that a court had already said were violated by Apple.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

ĀµTorrent plans to launch a paid platform

Next Story

Report: Microsoft in talks with Twitter over Bing search deal

70 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

smooth3006 said,
i guess google should sue apple for integrating the notifications in ios5.

So should Microsoft for the whole way to view both active and passive content in the camera viewfinder seeing as Microsoft own the patent on it.

i don't think this will pass, what does apple want android to do? revert to a barely usable interface? it's not like google will totally redo android just to please them... that's unless ice cream is something revolutionary?

i don't like what apple is doing here and i do not support them. this is only being done because they know android is basically gaining marketshare everyday.

smooth3006 said,
i don't think this will pass, what does apple want android to do? revert to a barely usable interface? it's not like google will totally redo android just to please them... that's unless ice cream is something revolutionary?

i don't like what apple is doing here and i do not support them. this is only being done because they know android is basically gaining marketshare everyday.

You forgot what Microsoft is doing (HTC, Samsung...), what Oracle is doing, and soon RIM and Sony will join too.

alexalex said,

You forgot what Microsoft is doing (HTC, Samsung...), what Oracle is doing, and soon RIM and Sony will join too.

i don't support any of these lawsuits. and as far as RIM i do not see them around anymore in the near future. their about as irrelevant as webos is.

"We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."

How can people when they never created the original process all they did was patent it. This is how you snuff out competition.

For the sake of the entire industry some new law student(s) needs to take this patent system and Apple as an example as high up the ladder for either cancellation or very short expiry dates on these things cause it's just ridiculous. It's not about who done it first it's about who done it best.

For now I think someone should patent a black background on a mobile device if they want to make a wealthy income.

Digitalx said,
"We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."

How can people when they never created the original process all they did was patent it. This is how you snuff out competition.

For the sake of the entire industry some new law student(s) needs to take this patent system and Apple as an example as high up the ladder for either cancellation or very short expiry dates on these things cause it's just ridiculous. It's not about who done it first it's about who done it best.

For now I think someone should patent a black background on a mobile device if they want to make a wealthy income.

Thats all very well except when its Nokia, Motorola or Samsung sueing Apple people on here are suddenly infavour of patents. Amazing.

evo_spook said,

Thats all very well except when its Nokia, Motorola or Samsung sueing Apple people on here are suddenly infavour of patents. Amazing.

And when Microsoft demands money for each Android phone sold from HTC, Samsung... people here cheer and justify Microsoft as defending their patents ,that no one know what they are.

alexalex said,
And when Microsoft demands money for each Android phone sold from HTC, Samsung... people here cheer and justify Microsoft as defending their patents ,that no one know what they are.

1. Explain how licensing is forcing small companies out of the market, and not only cutting their profit by a small (yes, small) margin (margins that wouldn't be there if it wasn't for the license).

2. Explain how Microsoft would benefit from keeping companies using their licenses out of the market.

Suing != licensing

Steve Jobs said ""We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."

Steve should have been a comedian

TechJunkie81 said,
Steve Jobs said ""We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."

Steve should have been a comedian

Yeah, not to mention he's a hypocrite for saying that...considering the new notification system for iOS 5 is ripped off from Android. It's becoming increasingly difficult to come up with new ideas without infinging on something, I think the patent system is long over due an overhaul to better reflect the times. That is my 2 cents, take with a grain of salt.

What is stolen, what is common discovery, invention, what is shared in these modern times where information is accessible in such a way that it participates more than ever in the unfolding of knowledge ? Behind patents there is often the quibbling path to combat competition, I believe, though I admit not always.

This sounds like Apple creating a monopoly of the Smartphone market, sue the competitors out of the market and be the only option for consumers.

"We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."

Like the mobile phone technology you STOLE from Motorola for the iPhone and were sued for.

Yeah right, more like "We think competition is healthy, but we have to be the ONLY option for consumers".

neo158 said,
This sounds like Apple creating a monopoly of the Smartphone market, sue the competitors out of the market and be the only option for consumers.
Like the mobile phone technology you STOLE from Motorola for the iPhone and were sued for.
Yeah right, more like "We think competition is healthy, but we have to be the ONLY option for consumers".

Yeah... and iOS 5 is filled with Apples own inventions </sarcasm>: Notification bar (Android), Camera from the lockscreen (WP7), last pictures in the camera app by sliding (WP7), ...

I don't have any faith android is going to get through all these lawsuits unscathed. I think it will survive but I think there are bound to be setbacks. I wonder if HP will get into the action since WebOS is going nowhere.

Lexcyn said,
I'm getting sick of Apple.

And Microsoft and every other company with patents? I am sure if Google was in the same position they would do the same.

Tech Star said,

And Microsoft and every other company with patents? I am sure if Google was in the same position they would do the same.


I don't know, the fact that literally every day you hear of Apple suing someone for some super generic patent makes me sick of them.

Lexcyn said,

For being patent trolls.

A patent troll is a company that patents something "obvious" then sits around doing nothing with them waiting for some third party to do it, then they launch law suites. The primary income of a patent troll is legal settlements.

Apple is the largest company on earth defending patents granted for products they're selling now.
Let's not dilute the word, we'll need it later.

evn. said,

A patent troll is a company that patents something "obvious" then sits around doing nothing with them waiting for some third party to do it, then they launch law suites. The primary income of a patent troll is legal settlements.

Apple is the largest company on earth defending patents granted for products they're selling now.
Let's not dilute the word, we'll need it later.

I know I know ... but all you see lately is Apple sues HTC, Apple sues Samsung, Apple sues blah blah blah. They must be spending $$$$$$$$$ on all of these lawsuits.

I understand that they have to protect their interests, but something is fundamentally wrong with the US patent system.

Lexcyn said,

I don't know, the fact that literally every day you hear of Apple suing someone for some super generic patent makes me sick of them.

Wow. Really? WHATS THAT? Apple headlines = more views = more hits = more coverage? Apple is defending their "idea" that other are using to make money. Do you think Apple does not get taken to court over patents? Do you know how much they pay to license patents also LIKE others?


I know I know ... but all you see lately is Apple sues HTC, Apple sues Samsung, Apple sues blah blah blah. They must be spending $$ on all of these lawsuits.

Trade mark lawsuits are mandatory: if you don't defend them, you lose protection. While they most certainly cost a fair chunk of cash (lets say $10 million dollars each, which is an order of magnitude more than they really cost) -- 100 suites a year is less than 3 weeks worth of revenue.

I understand that they have to protect their interests, but something is fundamentally wrong with the US patent system.

I agree, but you don't run a business by ignoring the broken rules in a broken system. It's not like Apple's competitors don't have long histories of patent and trade mark cases.

Edited by the evn show, Jul 16 2011, 2:54am :

evn. said,

A patent troll is a company that patents something "obvious" then sits around doing nothing with them waiting for some third party to do it, then they launch law suites. The primary income of a patent troll is legal settlements.

Apple is the largest company on earth defending patents granted for products they're selling now.
Let's not dilute the word, we'll need it later.

Isn't this the exact thing that Apple have done, patent extremely vague and obvious things then sit back and wait for companies to infringe on them.

Apple = Patent Trolls

neo158 said,

Isn't this the exact thing that Apple have done, patent extremely vague and obvious things then sit back and wait for companies to infringe on them.

Apple = Patent Trolls

Where the hell have you been? This is exactly what they AREN'T doing.
They have every reason to protect their ideas, so you can't say a damn thing against it.

If people were using your ideas and making huge profits off of it, you'd be ****ed to. But Nooooo, people can't use proper logic about this since Apple is the "enemy".

So many ill-informed people on this forum...

neo158 said,

Isn't this the exact thing that Apple have done, patent extremely vague and obvious things then sit back and wait for companies to infringe on them.
Apple = Patent Trolls

No, the difference here is that Apple patent a bunch of "inventions" related to mobile phones - then shipped phones with those "inventions" in them, and then sued people for infringing their patents on those inventions.

That bit where Apple makes the majority of all profit in the mobile phone market, is the largest consumer electronics company (hell, company period) in the world, and isn't looking for more than enough to cover court costs: that's what makes them different from a patent troll. They also acted as soon as they had secured patents and seen people infringing. Patent trolls typically lay quietly in the dark waiting for years, they don't ship products making use of their patents, and they generally look for settlement or damages because their only source of income is the court system.

Lexcyn said,

I don't know, the fact that literally every day you hear of Apple suing someone for some super generic patent makes me sick of them.

And every day you read about Microsoft coming to an "agreement" with some manufacturer using linux/android paying protection fees for patents no one know if they exist/are real.

evn. said,

A patent troll is a company that patents something "obvious" then sits around doing nothing with them waiting for some third party to do it, then they launch law suites. The primary income of a patent troll is legal settlements.

Apple is the largest company on earth defending patents granted for products they're selling now.
Let's not dilute the word, we'll need it later.

Um, patenting something that you DIDN'T EVEN INVENT???!!! I think the word "troll" is synonymous with Apple.

PlogCF said,

Um, patenting something that you DIDN'T EVEN INVENT???!!! I think the word "troll" is synonymous with Apple.


Again stop with the lies, or atleast come up with some evidence, ggeessssssss

Lexcyn said,

I don't know, the fact that literally every day you hear of Apple suing someone for some super generic patent makes me sick of them.

While I agree with the generic argument, Microsoft is actually even worse than Apple. Microsoft is using patent law to force OEMS to produce devices with Windows on it. That goes into the realm of actual patent abuse and anti-competitive behaviour.

With that said, I still believe that all software patents should be abolished. Especially because big corporations have taken to hoarding and buying them up en masse to damage or put smaller rivals out of business completely. .

PlogCF said,

Um, patenting something that you DIDN'T EVEN INVENT???!!!

Agreed. And Apple is going to get a hell of a lot more after the nortel patent purchase goes through.

I think we can all agree that the patent system isn't working as it should, that is, to encourage innovation. The hoarding and buying up of patents is often used for anti-competitive purposes to destroy or weaken the competition.

PlogCF said,

Um, patenting something that you DIDN'T EVEN INVENT???!!! I think the word "troll" is synonymous with Apple.


You can't patent things you didn't invent, and it's a requirement that you list all forms of 'prior art' (that is: things you're improving upon, similar inventions, etc) when you file for one.

I suspect that if there was a reasonable attack on the validity of the patent then HTC's dozens of lawers would have come across it while preparing their defence.

The problem here isn't "Apple doesn't deserve a patent because they didn't do anything" it's "Apple doesn't deserve a patent because software patents and method patents are a bad idea".

The ultimate end-game for all of this is probably going to be a cross-licensing deal. It's unlikely that HTC (or other android manufacturers) can't find some patent that Apple is infringing - they'll file a similar suit and then in exchange they all agree to license relevant patents to one-another. The whole system is just a big tax on doing business - it keeps small players out of the market, the court system clogged, and lawyers driving new BMWs.

PlogCF said,

Um, patenting something that you DIDN'T EVEN INVENT???!!! I think the word "troll" is synonymous with Apple.

Umm.... then how do you suppose they acquired all these patents? If you knew anything about how the patent office works, you should know they don't just give them out to anybody. Get a clue before you talk nonsense...

Astra.Xtreme said,

Umm.... then how do you suppose they acquired all these patents? If you knew anything about how the patent office works, you should know they don't just give them out to anybody. Get a clue before you talk nonsense...

You know, I don't want to get involved in the Apple/HTC part of this...but you do realize that the patent office has multiple patents awarded for perpetual motion machines right? Also a firearm with a whiskey glass attachment, Apparatus for facilitating the birth of a child by centrifugal force, and a Beerbrella - just to name a few of the more ridiculous patents.

evn. said,

A patent troll is a company that patents something "obvious" then sits around doing nothing with them waiting for some third party to do it, then they launch law suites. The primary income of a patent troll is legal settlements.

Apple is the largest company on earth defending patents granted for products they're selling now.
Let's not dilute the word, we'll need it later.

The largest company on earth.... ooookaaay

Astra.Xtreme said,

Umm.... then how do you suppose they acquired all these patents? If you knew anything about how the patent office works, you should know they don't just give them out to anybody. Get a clue before you talk nonsense...


As long as no one else patented it they could patent it. Since its a generic and obvious patent no one else did patent it. Therefore Apple saw this, patented someone elses idea and that is how you get a situation like this. The first patent at least was definitely a technology that was around before 96. Maybe you should get a clue?!

James Riske said,
If you can't beat them, sue them..

But Apple is beating HTC, actually it's not even a contest when you compare the two (just the mobile phone divisions).

wvu212 said,

But Apple is beating HTC, actually it's not even a contest when you compare the two (just the mobile phone divisions).


lol.

James Riske said,
If you can't beat them, sue them..

The smartphone war won't be won on the quality of the manufacturers' handsets, but on who has the biggest patent catalogue. Stuff like this is exactly why we need patent reform, software patents are basically just being used as a protection racket, and the biggest Don is the one who has the biggest patent portfolio.

James Riske said,
If you can't beat them, sue them..

+1
I suppose you can at least say that Apple isn't forcing OEMS like HTC to produce iPhones in the same way Microsoft is for WP7.

Microsoft_Bob said,

+1
I suppose you can at least say that Apple isn't forcing OEMS like HTC to produce iPhones in the same way Microsoft is for WP7.

Source?

Microsoft aren't FORCING any OEM to do anything. Not only that it's Foxconn that produce the iPhone and look what happened to some of their employees and then tell me Microsoft are FORCING manufacturers to create WP7 devices.

With a fail username like that you should be posting in the Apple forums!!!

wvu212 said,

But Apple is beating HTC, actually it's not even a contest when you compare the two (just the mobile phone divisions).

They're beating HTC sure, but not android. Since they are also going after Samsung as well as a bunch of other android device manufacturers it looks like this is more of an indirect attack on Android than an attack on HTC in particular.

Memnochxx said,

I read through the first one. It has a very extensive description of a vague and obvious concept. The patent is bull****.


didn't bother myself reading second one. but first one is definitely bulls#&^. it just explain PC structure. filled in 1994, after 20 years of PC. it definitely should be canceled, because not apple invented it. and apple should be fined for a massive fine for patenting stolen technologies.

wvu212 said,

Go read the full patents and things aren't that vague

Patent: #5,946,647
http://www.google.com/patents?...esnum=1&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAA

Patent: #6,343,263

http://www.google.com/patents?...esnum=1&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAA

After reading both of them, I can say confidently that they're BOTH outright BS. This is rediculous, that Apple is able to patent things that they didn't even invent! How many more people have to be sued irrationaly by this company before the patent system is revised, and Apple is fined for their disgusting actions? Really. Apple's just another troll that no one really needs in the industry. I hope that Android, Windows 8, Windows Phone, and all of the other Apple-alternatives continue to work (or will work) in putting this company further out of business.

PlogCF said,

After reading both of them, I can say confidently that they're BOTH outright BS. This is rediculous, that Apple is able to patent things that they didn't even invent! How many more people have to be sued irrationaly by this company before the patent system is revised, and Apple is fined for their disgusting actions? Really. Apple's just another troll that no one really needs in the industry. I hope that Android, Windows 8, Windows Phone, and all of the other Apple-alternatives continue to work (or will work) in putting this company further out of business.

Dont hate the player, hate the game. Quite frankly Apple is taking full advantage of an archaic and broken system, don't blame them for taking advantage of it. They arent the only one who do, and they wont be the last.

I agree with crispkreme. Even if you dive into the patent, it's still extremely generic:


1. A computer-based system for detecting structures in data and performing actions on detected structures, comprising:

an input device for receiving data;
an output device for presenting the data;
a memory storing information including program routines including

an analyzer server for detecting structures in the data, and for linking actions to the detected structures;
a user interface enabling the selection of a detected structure and a linked action; and
an action processor for performing the selected action linked to the selected structure; and
a processing unit coupled to the input device, the output device, and the memory for controlling the execution of the program routines.

evo_spook said,
Any evidence they didn't invent it or are you just guessing? Apple did kick start the personal computer after all

Hahaha..lol Sure, keep dreaming.

If anyone kickstarted the PC business it was Commodore and IBM (clones). Apple is just the scruchy little nerd in the back with a big mouth..

From day one they have been very clever at ripping other peoples/companies ideas and marketing it as if they created it.. There is _NOTHING_ apple has done that is their own and innovative. Most of what I see in OS X was available in some for om the C= Amiga back in the day. Sure it's improved and more modern, but hardly innovative or new.. Next thing they will start saying they invented a way to open documents/files without the need of extensions . or they invented a way to embed any information you require to use an app in the icon file.. guess what.. been done.. years back..

Apple is a hack and a thieving bully..

They are just very good at rushing product to market and presenting it so to make it look as if everyone else is following them.. From ripping of Xerox on the original GUI upto beating other to market with smartphones.. And when iPod came out it was certainly not the best available device. It was just marketed as such and the hordes fell for it.

Apple is a marketing and design company, not a technology company. What these patents describe (certainly the first one) has been done for YEARS before.. I have written AREXX code on the Amiga which did most of what this patent describes. Hell I wrote stuff on the C64 that did..

These patents describe generic computer operations and thus should be reviewed and rejected.

paulheu said,

Hahaha..lol Sure, keep dreaming.

If anyone kickstarted the PC business it was Commodore and IBM (clones). Apple is just the scruchy little nerd in the back with a big mouth..

From day one they have been very clever at ripping other peoples/companies ideas and marketing it as if they created it.. There is _NOTHING_ apple has done that is their own and innovative. Most of what I see in OS X was available in some for om the C= Amiga back in the day. Sure it's improved and more modern, but hardly innovative or new.. Next thing they will start saying they invented a way to open documents/files without the need of extensions . or they invented a way to embed any information you require to use an app in the icon file.. guess what.. been done.. years back..

Apple is a hack and a thieving bully..

They are just very good at rushing product to market and presenting it so to make it look as if everyone else is following them.. From ripping of Xerox on the original GUI upto beating other to market with smartphones.. And when iPod came out it was certainly not the best available device. It was just marketed as such and the hordes fell for it.

Apple is a marketing and design company, not a technology company. What these patents describe (certainly the first one) has been done for YEARS before.. I have written AREXX code on the Amiga which did most of what this patent describes. Hell I wrote stuff on the C64 that did..

These patents describe generic computer operations and thus should be reviewed and rejected.


Win.

Also, you forgot to mention that Steve Jobs had no intention of even creating a PC (with a GUI) which would later be called the Mac until he was invited to the labs at Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), where Xerox made the first real PC. Xerox would later go on to sue Apple and win, for Jobs' arrogant and uninnovative ripoff of their work, while the PARC team would later go on to win several awards in computing and design.


In 1979, Xerox threw open its doors to anyone in the industry and press, who might be interested in seeing their developments. Several Apple Computer employees, including Steve Jobs, visited Xerox PARC that day. Jobs and the others saw the commercial potential of the WIMP (Window, Icon, Menu, and Pointing device) system and redirected development of the Apple Lisa to incorporate these technologies. Jobs is quoted as saying "They just had no idea what they had." In 1980, Jobs invited several key PARC researchers to join his company so that they could fully develop and implement their ideas. Bill Gates, who had also been present, had similar thoughts.

This also should be a notice to all of those Mac enthusaists out there who believe that Bill Gates took this idea from Steve Jobs. In reality, he also got his inspiration from the PARC team's ideas, and began to develop Windows around the same time after being invited to the center. However, the difference with Gates is that, instead of ripping off the GUI and modifying it (like what Apple did), he actually invented his own GUI and system for Windows.

In the mid 1980s, Apple considered buying Xerox; however, a deal was never reached. Apple instead bought rights to the Alto GUI and adapted it into to a more affordable personal computer, aimed towards the business and education markets. The Apple Macintosh was released in 1984, and was the first personal computer to popularize the GUI and mouse amongst the public.

The only reason why some people say that Gates copied the Macintosh GUI is because it took a little more time for him to develop Windows with just a few other people, rather than the larger team of developers that Steve Jobs had working at Apple. Nevertheless, it is still careless to assume that Apple invented anything here, considering that they actually even paid Xerox to use some of their technologies. But they've always done this sort of stuff, though. It's nothing new...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xerox