Saturday, September 10, 2011

Google Give HTC Helping Hand Against Apple

It’s become an ugly summer of litigation in the world of the smartphone with manufacturer X suing manufacturer Y and then them each counter-suing each other. In the latest legal battle between HTC and Apple things have gone straight to source in more ways than one.
Firstly, Google sold a number of patents to HTC so that the mobile manufacturer can sue Apple. The nine patents, which Google bought from Motorola, Palm and other companies less than a year ago, concern Google’s Android operating system. The Guardian suggests that it is a sign that the search engine giant is unwilling to sue Apple directly and HTC was the first Android manufacturer in the firing line of the Cupertino-based corporation.
Florian Mueller, of Foss Patents, wrote that “Google knows that HTC is under tremendous legal pressure from Apple and is clearly on the losing track. HTC is the first Android device maker sued by Apple, so that dispute is at the most advanced stage, and since HTC’s own patent portfolio is weak, it has so far lacked the leverage to force Apple into a cross-license agreement. The possibility of HTC being defeated must have scared Google.”
But in a further twist to this case that at times feels like a technology soap opera is that Apple could actually use Android’s founder, Andy Rubin, as a defence point against HTC. Rubin started his career at Apple some years ago, and the iPhone manufacturer is claiming that he was already conceptualising Android while working at Apple as an engineer, and as a consequence any intellectual ideas or patents that an Apple employee files or comes up with, belong to the company. Based on this, Apple is claiming that HTC is infringing two of its key patents. Confused? You’re not the only one.


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