Transfer Pricing Associates

HTC and Apple's Patent Battle

post Thursday September 29, 2011



HTC Corporation, Asia’s second largest smartphone manufacturer is currently engaged in a battle of smartphone technologies against Apple.  The competition, along with the continued allegations of copycatting, between the two companies has been snowballing ever since the US International Trade Commission made an initial ruling two weeks ago that HTC had violated two of Apple’s patents.  This ruling was part of the In the Matter of Certain Electronic Devices with Communication Capabilities, Complaint No. 2841, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington) and the patents in question had to do with a new way to display information on mobile devices and status bars that lets users check phone calls, text messages, or calendar events. 


The new development in the HTC – Apple battle, however, has to do with HTC’s use of nine Google patents purchased last week from Google to launch a new infringement lawsuit against Apple.  The implementation of these newly purchased patents is most likely an attempt by HTC to counteract Apple’s claims that phones running Google’s Android operating system (many of which are manufactured by HTC) copy the iPhone. 


Armed with Google’s patents, HTC is suing Apple in federal court in Delaware for infringement of four of the nine Google patents that were purchased by HTC.  HTC is claiming that Apple’s Mac computer, iPhone, iPod, iPad, iCloud and iTunes are infringing the Google/HTC patents for a wireless upgrading method, a data transferring method, and a way to store user preferences.  The remaining five purchased patents are being used in similar cases by HTC.


This patent battle between the two smartphone giants brings into focus how companies use IP law and patent enforcement to attempt to achieve greater market share by thwarting competition engaged in similar innovation activities.  When so many international technologies are emerging simultaneously, it is not only a race to implementation of the latest innovations but also a race to who can patent that technology the fastest.  This idea is central to the advancement of competition and in turn the advancement of innovation, but this case clearly outlines how manufacturers can get stonewalled when it comes to IP.

Leave your comment


Comments on 'HTC and Apple's Patent Battle' (0)