July 5, 2012
Apple Loses Another One To HTC
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
A London judge has ruled HTC smartphones aren´t guilty of infringing on Apple´s patent over the touchscreen technology in their slide-to-unlock feature. Furthermore, Judge Christopher Floyd not only ruled that HTC´s devices don´t infringe on 4 of Apple´s patents, he also ruled that 3 of these patents are invalid.
The judgment from London on Wednesday “marks a considerable defeat for Apple in the smartphone patent wars,” according to Peter Bell, attorney for Stevens & Bolton LLP, who spoke to Bloomberg for the report. Mr. Bell isn´t involved in the case.
Apple is currently fighting with other companies across 4 continents against HTC and Samsung. While the fights are technically about patent infringement, the spirit of the battle is between Apple´s mobile OS, iOS and Google´s mobile OS, Android. As they fight for the upper-hand in the exploding mobile market, each company has begun to blame one another for patent infringement and copying one another´s designs.
Reiterating a prior statement from prior court decisions, an Apple spokesman said in an emailed statement, “Competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”
Apple had no comment about this specific ruling.
While pleased with the ruling, HTC also said they were unhappy with the behavior Apple has been exhibiting in the courts.
According to Bloomberg, an HTC spokeswoman has said, “we remain disappointed that Apple continues to favor competition in the courtroom over competition in the marketplace.”
In addition to the slide-to-unlock feature, Apple´s complaints against HTC also include the way HTC smartphones scroll through photographs as well as the way the smartphone is able to change its alphabets. Additionally, Apple claims HTC violates a patent involving allowing a user to touch the screen in 2 points at the same time. The only patent Floyd deemed as valid is the photo-management patent, though he didn´t rule that HTC had infringed upon it.
Earlier this week, Apple experienced another loss in their battle with HTC as the US International Trade Commission (ITC) denied Apple´s request for a ban of HTC smartphones in the US. A small ray of hope: Though the ITC won´t be banning HTC phones in the US, they continue to investigate the phones for patent infringement.
In the US case, Apple holds that HTC violates a patent involving being able to detect phone numbers and URLs in emails and turn them into actionable items. To get around a ban, HTC created a workaround which appeased the ITC.
While Apple has been losing cases against HTC, they´ve been winning cases against Samsung, a company they claim has been ripping off he designs of their iPad and iPhone devices, as well as their accessories. Last week, a California judge issued a ban on both Samsung´s Galaxy 10.1 tabs and Samsung´s Galaxy Nexus smartphones, a particularly Google-centric device. Both the Samsung tablet and the Samsung smartphone are reaching the end of their production cycle, so it´s left unseen how these bans will affect the Korean company.