HTC fired back at Apple this morning with its own patent infringement case but it wasn’t clear on the details until this afternoon.
Apple went after HTC (and Google) for 20 patents, but HTC says the iPhone, iPod and iPad infringe on five of its intellectual properties. HTC is hoping the U.S. International Trade Commission will halt the import of the iProducts, which would definitely upset Steve Jobs. The patents include:
Patent 6,320,957: Telephone dialer with easy access memory
Patent 6,999,800: Method for power management of a smart phone
Patent 7,716,505: Power control methods for a portable electronic device
Patent 5,541,988: Telephone dialer with a personalized page organization of telephone directory memory
Patent 6,058,183: Telephone dialer with a personalized page organization of telephone directory memory (different patent even though it has the same title)
HTC’s claims aren’t quite as sexy as Apple’s but it’s the same idea philosophically: This other company shouldn’t be using these patents without some sort of licensing deal. As I’ve mentioned before, these types of cases usually end up with some form a cross-licensing agreement and the process can take as long as a decade. Many times, the threat of the counter-suit is enough to stop one company from suing because this ends up in “mutually-assured destruction” because of the legal fees. Or, the negotiations will happen outside of the court, like it did with Microsoft’s recent licensing of patents to HTC.
If I were a betting man, I’d say the ITC won’t ban iProducts and that this will all end in a deal. It will probably take at least five years for that, however. One thing is certain, we’re bound to see a lot more of these cases as players jockey for position in mobile computing.
Engadget’s Nilay Patel was formerly a patent lawyer, so he has some good insight in his post. Feel free to download the full complaint via the link below too.
[Read HTC’s full patent complaint (PDF)]