Apple Wins Crucial Law Suit Step Against HTC - Not Over Yet
HTC already pays a stipend to Microsoft, who, a year ago, laid claims that Android infringed upon patents owned by Microsoft. Today, HTC moved one step closer to the threat of another arrangement, this time with Apple, being realized. If the ITC's ruling is supported by a review organization, then HTC could be forced to stop selling devices that implement the patents in question. And this time, Apple, unlike Microsoft, may not give the mobile favorite the option for a work-around.
Apple submitted the lawsuit last year, with the original petition citing a total of ten patents that HTC was infringing upon. The hearing today whittled that down to two. Observers might almost be willing to consider this a win for HTC. The company could have been on the hook for 10 patents. Now only two are in question.
That has not led HTC to take a more accommodating stance on the remaining two patents. An HTC spokesperson indicated that they intended to fight the ruling. To make matters worse, Apple submitted an adendum to the suit earlier this week, adding another five patents to the infringement claim. Even if HTC successfully defends itself against the suit, the courtroom activity is assuredly running up a significant tab for legal fees, as well as occupying the attention of executives who want to be focused on something else.
It is key to understand that this is not the final decision in the suit. In issuing this ruling, the ITC has essentially declared that Apple's claims are not fraudulent and are worth a hearing. The next hearing will be a review of today's findings and a decision as to whether or not the ruling stands.