HTC files another lawsuit against Apple

IPR BATTLE::The firm filed its third lawsuit with the US International Trade Commission and the US District Court of Delaware in a legal fight that began in March last year

By Jason Tan  /  Staff Reporter

Thu, Aug 18, 2011 - Page 12

The patent row between HTC Corp (宏達電) and Apple Inc has escalated as the Taiwanese firm filed a new lawsuit against its archrival on claims that it violated HTC’s patents with iPhones, iPads, iPods and Mac computers.

HTC is seeking unspecified damages and a ban on the use of three patented technologies by Apple.

The Taiwanese firm, the world’s No. 5 smartphone brand, filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) and the US District Court of Delaware for patent infringements, the company said in a statement yesterday.

“We are taking this action against Apple to protect our intellectual property, our industry partners, and most importantly our customers that use HTC phones,” HTC general counsel Grace Lei (雷憶瑜) said in the statement. “This is the third case before the ITC in which Apple is infringing our intellectual property. Apple needs to stop its infringement of our patented inventions in its products.”

The patents at dispute cover a range of functionality in Apple’s Mac computers and mobile devices that are essential to the user experience, the statement said.

These include Wi-Fi capability that allows users to wirelessly network multiple devices at home, at work or in public; and processor communication technology that enables the seamless integration of a personal digital assistant and a cellular phone into a single device providing users with a true smartphone experience, it said.

HTC and Apple have tangled in a spate of lawsuits going back to March last year.

Apple filed its latest complaint against HTC with the ITC and District Court in Delaware last month in connection with five cases linked to the technology used in iPads and iPhones.

A few days later, the ITC gave an initial ruling on March last year’s case, finding that HTC had infringed upon two patents belonging to Apple — a verdict that HTC has said covered “two minor patents.”

The ITC will make a final ruling in December and HTC is expected to reach a settlement with Apple by then, or in the worse case face a ban to stop selling its smartphones in the US.

Apple has sued many rivals, including HTC and Samsung Electronics Co, over patent infringements in several countries. It has also been countersued by rivals.

HTC chief financial officer Winston Yung (容覺生) said on Monday that the company has provisions set aside for the lawsuits.

He also reiterated CEO Peter Chou’s (周永明) views that the litigation was merely a “disturbance” on the company’s road to greater success, and that investors could be assured that HTC would not be put in a “dangerous situation.”

“We are fully prepared for any scenario,” Yung said.

Separately, HTC launched its first 3D smartphone in Taiwan yesterday.

The Evo 3D, which is already on sale in the US, carries a 4.3-inch touch screen and allows users to capture and play images that come across as being three-dimensional without the need for specially designed glasses.

The cellphone, which costs NT$21,900 (US$760), uses Google Inc’s Android 2.3 platform and enables users to browse 3D images or play games in 3D.

Shares of HTC closed down 3.14 percent yesterday at NT$801 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.