HTC Countersues Apple In Florida
July 19, 2012

HTC Countersues Apple In Florida

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

HTC, Motorola and Samsung have all fallen in the crosshairs as Apple continues their holy war against the Google Green Giant that is Android. Each company has suffered losses and celebrated some victories against the Cupertino Kid in courts of law all over the globe.

HTC, for instance, won a case in London earlier this month when a judge ruled that the Taiwanese phone maker didn´t violate any Apple patent with their slide-to-unlock functionality.

Going the extra mile, Judge Christopher Floyd also ruled that 3 out of the 4 Apple patents weren´t even valid. Riding high on their success, HTC has decided to take another shot at Apple in a Florida court, saying the iPhone maker is violating some of their shiny new patents they´ve just purchased from HP.

The first patent in the countersuit, Patent No. 7,571,221, (or the ℠221 patent, to those in the know) involves the “Installation of network services in an embedded network server.” As listed in the FOSS Patents blog, HTC claims Apple´s Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, as well as the entire line of Post-PC devices violate this patent.

The second patent, No. 7,120,684 (or ℠684) involves the “method and system for central management of a computer network.”

HP acquired this patent from the Electronic Data Systems Corporation (EDS) in 2009 and only sold it to HTC in December of 2011. Apple´s Remote Desktop, Profile Manager and any services which use these tools are said to be in violation of this patent.

HTC has made a practice recently of buying up patents in order to countersue Apple. Last month, HTC tried to countersue Apple with patents they had on loan from Google. ITC Judge Thomas Pender disagreed with HTC, saying only the patent owner, not the patent loaner, had rights to assert these patents.

HTC is often a “number 2” competitor in the smartphone wars. They´re either Number 2 behind Apple in terms of brand equity, or Number 2 behind Samsung in terms of Android phone market share.

As such, they're keen to stay in the fight and do what they can to remain profitable. On the other hand, continuing to wage this fight against Apple could end up being rather costly.

Just as HTC is busying themselves acquiring patents to fight Apple, the iPhone makers were awarded a patent just yesterday, entitled, “Portable electronic device, method, and graphical user interface for displaying electronic lists and documents.”

This patent involves the way things are laid out in a list, such as documents, lists, etc: Just another in the long line of very simple and possible very standard essential patents Apple wants to have in their arsenal.

“As portable electronic devices become more compact, and the number of functions performed by a given device increase, it has become a significant challenge to design a user interface that allows users to easily interact with a multifunction device,” reads the patent description.

This situation is unfortunate because the user interface is the gateway through which users receive not only content but also responses to user actions or behaviors.”

This patent could be very dangerous should Apple decide to employ it against their competitors, also adding fire to the already raging hot patent wars fought by each company in mobile. Look forward to plenty of boring patent suits and countersuits in the future.