Interesting Patent News: HTC Sues Apple, Microsoft Inks Deals
Article by George Norman
On 09 Sep 2011
The first news in this article is that HTC, the Taiwanese manufacturer of smartphones, filed a lawsuit against Cupertino-based software developer Apple, claiming that Apple is infringing on several of its patents. The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. Furthermore, HTC amended a complaint with the International Trade Commission and also amended another suit in Delaware.

So basically HTC is suing Apple over patent infringement – that is hardly interesting. So why did this make the news? Here comes the interesting part: HTC is using with patents from Google. The patents HTC is suing Apple over were transferred from Motorola, Palm and Openwave Systems to Google within the past year. Then Google transferred the patents to HTC, which then filed a lawsuit against Apple. It is yet unclear if Google sold or just gave the patents to HTC.


This squabbling between Apple and Google is interesting from one point of view: Apple isn’t suing Google and Google isn’t suing Apple. Apple is instead suing Android manufacturers and Google is providing manufacturers with means of fighting back.

Moving on, the second news in this article is that Microsoft inked two patent license deals. Patent deals are struck all the time, what so interesting about these ones? The interesting bit is that the patent deals are over Google’s Android and Chrome OS. Microsoft inked two patent-protection deals with manufacturers who do not want to be sued for using Android and Chrome.

Microsoft signed a patent license agreement with Acer, agreement that includes broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for Acer’s tablets and smartphones running the Android platform. It also signed a patent agreement with ViewSonic, agreement that provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for ViewSonic’s tablets and mobile phones running the Android or Chrome Platform.

Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft, released the same statement in regards to the two agreements:
“We are pleased that [Acer/ViewSonic] is taking advantage of our industrywide licensing program established to help companies address Android’s IP issues. This agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercially reasonable arrangements that address intellectual property.”

How come Microsoft can strike such deals? Microsoft could go after Google for patent violations over Android and Chrome OS, but it has decided to target manufacturers instead. Microsoft has struck deals with several device makers, pressing them to license Microsoft's patents that it alleges Android and Chrome infringe upon.

Tags: HTC, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Lawsuit
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
You can follow him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter

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