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Apple asks ITC to block import of HTC handsets in latest patent complaint

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Apple has filed a new patent complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission, asking it once again to block the import of hardware made by rival smartphone maker HTC.

The complaint was filed with the ITC on July 8, and was revealed through a notice on its official website posted Monday. As noted by Bloomberg, the nature of the complaint was not revealed in the notice, and the document is not yet available to view.

The new complaint, numbered 2828, is categorized with "Portable Electronic Devices and Related Software." Named as proposed respondents are HTC Corp., of China., HTC America Inc. of Bellevue, Wash.

Asking the ITC to ban the import of devices is standard practice when a lawsuit is filed. Similar motions were made in legal spats Apple has had with Nokia and Samsung.

Apple first sued HTC in the ITC in March of 2010, and accused the Taiwanese company of infringing on 20 patents related to the iPhone's user interface, underlying architecture and hardware. In a statement, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said though competition is "healthy," competitors should not "steal" Apple's technology.

Though the suit was directed at HTC, the complaint specifically targeted a number of phones that run Google's Android mobile operating system, leading many to believe the real purpose of the complaint was to serve as a warning shot toward Google. For its part, HTC fired back with its own lawsuit, accusing Apple of infringing on five patents.



The first complaint filed by Apple against HTC is set to be decided on by a judge on Aug. 5. The findings will the be subject to review by the full commission.

HTC saw an early victory in the case in April, when the ITC staff voiced it support for the company as the trial began. The staff made the non-binding recommendation in favor of HTC, but the actual ruling will be made by ITC Administrative Law Judge Carl Charneski next month, and will then be reviewed by the six-member commission.
post #2 of 34
Of course they filed another complaint. There's always room for more lawyers. They can share cubicles or get outsourced. Engineers require more overhead.

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post #3 of 34
Has the ITC ever blocked a major before? I read of kodak this, apple that, etc etc but nothing ever comes of it.

Lawsuits and patents are useless. Just innovate like a mofo.
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post #4 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Of course they filed another complaint. There's always room for more lawyers. They can share cubicles or get outsourced. Engineers require more overhead.


This may be linked to HTC's recent purchase of S3 graphics, which is of course suing Apple.
post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cy_starkman View Post

Has the ITC ever blocked a major before? I read of kodak this, apple that, etc etc but nothing ever comes of it.

Lawsuits and patents are useless. Just innovate like a mofo.


What point is there to for you or Apple spend money on R&D to "innovate like a mofo" (as Apple does) to just have me come in steal your or Apple's innovation for nothing? That is why we have patents; to encourage and reward people and companies to innovate.

And what does come out of if nothing else is Apple may be rewarded with a licensing fee paid out by HTC, so that in effect their R&D is not free.
post #6 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmarcoot View Post

What point is there to for you or Apple spend money on R&D to "innovate like a mofo" (as Apple does) to just have me come in steal your or Apple's innovation for nothing? That is why we have patents; to encourage and reward people and companies to innovate.

And what does come out of if nothing else is Apple may be rewarded with a licensing fee paid out by HTC, so that in effect their R&D is not free.

We'll, while the whole patent idea is nice and all, as long as patent trolls exist and make up a major part of patent law suits, the whole system is useless.

But no one dares to interfere :/

The only one winning in the long run are the patent lawyers :>
post #7 of 34
Essentially the goal at the ITC is to get lucky. So you sue in federal court seeking monetary damages. That is a lengthy process. You then file a complaint with the ITC, which can't award damages, but can ban the import of infringing products and is usually a quicker process. If a product was built in the US, this wouldn't be an effective attack.


What happens is if the ITC says a product is infringing, that provides a strong incentive for the party with the alleged infringing product to settle. Sharp both sued Samsung and filed a complaint with the ITC. The ITC gave Sharp a favorable decision, which could have results in all of Samsung's infringing TV sets to be banned from the Country. The matter quickly settled in Sharp's favor, with Samsung paying licensing fees to Sharp. Samsung could wait around for the years it would take for the federal court to resolve the matter. Same with CRS and Broadcom. The ITC ruled in Broadcom's favor. The parties quickly settled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cy_starkman View Post

Has the ITC ever blocked a major before? I read of kodak this, apple that, etc etc but nothing ever comes of it.

Lawsuits and patents are useless. Just innovate like a mofo.
post #8 of 34
@dmarcoot

Sure, I understand that.

Still doesn't answer my question, when has the ITC actually blocked a major from importing? Nothing much ever comes from all this. The occasional payout..

One assumes if you are going to sue over a patent violation at this level (apple etc, not patent trolling) that you have checked it is actually is in violation, not just hoping you can trick the court.

So I ask. What is the point of patenting, if when it comes to court the ITC rarely does anything and you just waste a bunch of cash? The patent and court costs along with the staff fees to do both, executive time wasted on it etc. would be millions, the occasional license fee and usual no-outcome would struggle to match the cost to defend.

It is like putting in an insurance claim for less than the excess. A waste of time.

I'm not debating the value of IP as such
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post #9 of 34
Thanks TBell
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post #10 of 34
hmmm. i wonder if this suit pertains to both windows and android phones or just android.
post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebetech View Post

hmmm. i wonder if this suit pertains to both windows and android phones or just android.

For now Apple and Microsoft look like frenemies, ganged up to defeat Android, in much the same manner as Apple/Google was supposed to beat up on Microsoft as little as three years ago. Tho I'm sure that Microsoft is much more aware of how quickly Apple can turn than Google was.

So I doubt either one wants to get in a legal fight with the other right now, no matter how egregious the purported patent infringement might be. Too many current benefits if they can rid Android from the mobile space.
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post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cy_starkman View Post

Still doesn't answer my question, when has the ITC actually blocked a major from importing? Nothing much ever comes from all this. The occasional payout..

You have to understand that the ITC has only recently become popular for this kind of activity because it was only with a landmark patent case that the Supreme Court changed the practice of federal courts to not give an injunction as a matter of course in cases of patent infringement

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EBay_In...xchange,_L.L.C.

That by the way was an example of an injunction being granted against a major, even though it was overruled on appeal.

You might want to read

http://www.insidecounsel.com/2011/05...ingement-cases
post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

So I doubt either one wants to get in a legal fight with the other right now, no matter how egregious the purported patent infringement might be. Too many current benefits if they can rid Android from the mobile space.

Apple and Microsoft have a deep cross licensing agreement that dates back to 1997 or so, as a result they are unable to bring patent cases against each other. Apple could conceivably attack HTC or Samsung if they made a WP7 that violated design patents, but that is another matter.
post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Apple and Microsoft have a deep cross licensing agreement that dates back to 1997 or so, as a result they are unable to bring patent cases against each other. Apple could conceivably attack HTC or Samsung if they made a WP7 that violated design patents, but that is another matter.

That's what I'm referring to. Not direct litigation against Microsoft but rather their licensed WM7 handset partners. And that won't happen anytime soon for the reasons I mentioned.
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post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

That's what I'm referring to. Not direct litigation against Microsoft but rather their licensed WM7 handset partners. And that won't happen anytime soon for the reasons I mentioned.

If the WP7 handsets are pure WP7 implementations then Apple can't sue for the software, because the OEMs would be covered by MS's license. Apple would only be able to sue based on elements that the OEMs had added themselves. The Nokia N9 design running WP7 for example would be pretty safe unless Apple could get it on a hardware patent such as the headphone jack or the volume rocker.
post #16 of 34
So Cloudgazer, would you agree with me that it's currently an Apple/Microsoft gangbang, or is your opinion that it's just simple happenstance that Apple and Microsoft have been in agreement lately on issues that concern Google/Android, no behind the scenes meeting of the mind's involved.
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post #17 of 34
If you cant beat them, sue them.

"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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post #18 of 34
Although interesting, I do not think this case bears on why the ITC is popular. The ITC has become more popular because 10 to 15 years ago most US companies actually manufactured in the US. With the rise of so called free trade agreements, that is no longer the case. The ITC can't ban a product made here in the US.

Also, it takes the federal court systems years to make a decision based on whether a patent infringes. So, the injunction generally wouldn't be applicable for years because the federal court isn't going to grant an injunction until infringement has been established. The ITC makes a decision in less than a year.

My understanding is the Ebay case is important because the Supreme Court took away the choice of a victorious patent holder to generally be able to receive an injunction. The Court said it more important to weigh a variety of factors, including considering whether granting an injunction best serves the public's best interest when other factors such as monetary relief are available.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

You have to understand that the ITC has only recently become popular for this kind of activity because it was only with a landmark patent case that the Supreme Court changed the practice of federal courts to not give an injunction as a matter of course in cases of patent infringement

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EBay_In...xchange,_L.L.C.

That by the way was an example of an injunction being granted against a major, even though it was overruled on appeal.

You might want to read

http://www.insidecounsel.com/2011/05...ingement-cases
post #19 of 34
I had to setup an HTC handshit for a customer this evening, I nearly smashed the bloody thing, laggy pos.

Anyone know if there is a profile deployment tool for android handsets, similar to the iPhone deployment tool?
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

Although interesting, I do not think this case bears on why the ITC is popular. The ITC has become more popular because 10 to 15 years ago most US companies actually manufactured in the US. With the rise of so called free trade agreements, that is no longer the case. The ITC can't ban a product made here in the US.

Well that's of secondary importance to the fact that the ITC has only become the favoured venue for these things in the last few years, hence the small number of high profile spankings. As to the reason for the popularity, I'd say it's more related to the legal developments than industrial ones - the US economy hollowed out long before the sudden rise in ITC cases.
post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

So Cloudgazer, would you agree with me that it's currently an Apple/Microsoft gangbang, or is your opinion that it's just simple happenstance that Apple and Microsoft have been in agreement lately on issues that concern Google/Android, no behind the scenes meeting of the mind's involved.

I doubt there was a meeting in which Steve Jobs and Steve Ballmer agreed to stick it to Google if that's what you mean. But obviously both of them will be targeting Android for their own reasons while ignoring irrelevant platforms like WebOS and rapidly fading platforms such as Blackberry and Symbian.

There's a fundamental difference in their perspectives though, because Apple has at this point no reason to fear that WP7 will be taking over the world any time soon (IDC's crazy predictions not withstanding), and MS very much does have to assume that Android's loss may end up as Apple's gain.

That's why it makes sense for MS to get royalties for their patent infringements rather than go for injunctions.

If MS had any weapon to use against Apple in the mobile space I think they'd likely use it, but thanks to that same cross licensing agreement, they don't. So instead they're flogging the same old horse of branding their offering 'windows' and promising some nebulous connection to the desktop system that people seem to have no interest in.
post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

If you cant beat them, sue them.

Funny, because when the topic was S3 winning a partial decision against Apple you seemed to have a pretty sanguine view of patents and the ITC.

But being consistent or making sense or contributing to the conversation isn't why you're here, as we all know.
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post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

I doubt there was a meeting in which Steve Jobs and Steve Ballmer agreed to stick it to Google if that's what you mean.

While I agree there's probably been no meeting of Jobs and Ballmer, IMO I do suspect there's been some discussions at a lower level, or perhaps strictly between attorneys for both, clarifying what the position is between the two companies. Having a meeting between CEO's would be too big a chance to take. But I am of the opinion that discussions have taken place.
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post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

While I agree there's probably been no meeting of Jobs and Ballmer, IMO I do suspect there's been some discussions at a lower level, or perhaps strictly between attorneys for both, clarifying what the position is between the two companies. Having a meeting between CEO's would be too big a chance to take. But I am of the opinion that discussions have taken place.

Ballmer and Jobs meeting? That's like Jennifer Aniston dating Arnold. Not a good sight. Not a good match.
post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

I doubt there was a meeting in which Steve Jobs and Steve Ballmer agreed to stick it to Google if that's what you mean. But obviously both of them will be targeting Android for their own reasons while ignoring irrelevant platforms like WebOS and rapidly fading platforms such as Blackberry and Symbian.

I wouldn't be surprised if Apple and MS *did* agree on a strategy to curb Android. The two haven't been direct competitors for years, especially now that Microsoft is more or less out of the PMP/Music Store business, and WP7 needs everything it can get to gain marketshare. On the desktop Apple knows they can't beat Windows, but they also know they don't have to, to be profitable: they almost give OS X away for free, and make money on hardware sales. Microsoft and Apple have completely different strategies, and there is no market left where they are going head to head, but they do have a common enemy in the form of Google. Microsoft wants Google gone for many reasons, it's their biggest competitor in search, ad services, productivity, Google is frustrating their efforts to regain smartphone marketshare, and they are a threat to Microsofts desktop software business, with their cloud-based OS & app strategy. For Apple, it's mostly about Android of course, which is currently their only credible competitor in the smartphone OS business.

So if you come to think of it, there are simply so many common interests for Apple & MS to team up and try to extinguish the fire that drives Android: the fact that it is cheap for handset manufacturers. By making Android more expensive for HTC, Samsung, et al, Microsoft might pull them over to WP7, which is anything but unimaginable: both Samsung and HTC used to be almost entirely Windows Mobile shops in the past, and they will both switch to another OS without hesitation if they think it will male them more money.

I've been predicting patent issues will kill Android from the beginning, because 'cheap' has always been the single differentiating factor for handset manufacturers, if that advantage disappears, Android is toast. It's been a free ride for Google until now, but they simply forgot to innovate anything themselves and patent it, they just copied and followed, and now they are left without any pocket change to fend off patent suits. Which I dislike by the way, just stating my observations.
post #26 of 34
I'd say that if Steve Jobs did conspire with anybody to kill Android it would be with his long time best friend, Larry Ellison.
post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

So Cloudgazer, would you agree with me that it's currently an Apple/Microsoft gangbang, or is your opinion that it's just simple happenstance that Apple and Microsoft have been in agreement lately on issues that concern Google/Android, no behind the scenes meeting of the mind's involved.

Gangbang? Try Unholy Coalition...

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=22114
post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

If you cant beat them, sue them.

Except Apple's already beating HTC.

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There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

I doubt there was a meeting in which Steve Jobs and Steve Ballmer agreed to stick it to Google if that's what you mean. But obviously both of them will be targeting Android for their own reasons while ignoring irrelevant platforms like WebOS and rapidly fading platforms such as Blackberry and Symbian.

There's a fundamental difference in their perspectives though, because Apple has at this point no reason to fear that WP7 will be taking over the world any time soon (IDC's crazy predictions not withstanding), and MS very much does have to assume that Android's loss may end up as Apple's gain.

That's why it makes sense for MS to get royalties for their patent infringements rather than go for injunctions.

If MS had any weapon to use against Apple in the mobile space I think they'd likely use it, but thanks to that same cross licensing agreement, they don't. So instead they're flogging the same old horse of branding their offering 'windows' and promising some nebulous connection to the desktop system that people seem to have no interest in.

I have some doubts - and then some - that entity like "Rockstar Bidco" came to life spontaneously. Maybe Steve & Steve didn't sit together themselves, but their representatives and lawyers must have.
post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-range View Post

I wouldn't be surprised if Apple and MS *did* agree on a strategy to curb Android. The two haven't been direct competitors for years, especially now that Microsoft is more or less out of the PMP/Music Store business, and WP7 needs everything it can get to gain marketshare. On the desktop Apple knows they can't beat Windows, but they also know they don't have to, to be profitable: they almost give OS X away for free, and make money on hardware sales. Microsoft and Apple have completely different strategies, and there is no market left where they are going head to head, but they do have a common enemy in the form of Google. Microsoft wants Google gone for many reasons, it's their biggest competitor in search, ad services, productivity, Google is frustrating their efforts to regain smartphone marketshare, and they are a threat to Microsofts desktop software business, with their cloud-based OS & app strategy. For Apple, it's mostly about Android of course, which is currently their only credible competitor in the smartphone OS business.

So if you come to think of it, there are simply so many common interests for Apple & MS to team up and try to extinguish the fire that drives Android: the fact that it is cheap for handset manufacturers. By making Android more expensive for HTC, Samsung, et al, Microsoft might pull them over to WP7, which is anything but unimaginable: both Samsung and HTC used to be almost entirely Windows Mobile shops in the past, and they will both switch to another OS without hesitation if they think it will male them more money.

I've been predicting patent issues will kill Android from the beginning, because 'cheap' has always been the single differentiating factor for handset manufacturers, if that advantage disappears, Android is toast. It's been a free ride for Google until now, but they simply forgot to innovate anything themselves and patent it, they just copied and followed, and now they are left without any pocket change to fend off patent suits. Which I dislike by the way, just stating my observations.

I think we'll see shifting short term alliances over the next few years as the big changes moving over the computer landscape continue to disrupt incumbents.

For instance, Apple may want to play nice with Facebook for the time being as a way of blunting Google's bundling of social services with Android, but that doesn't mean that Apple doesn't have reason to be wary of Facebook's plans to create their own ecosystem of apps and services (of course the same holds true for Facebook's relationship to Apple).

Apple may see cooperation with MS at this point as particularly useful because they'd be helping out a relatively toothless competitor for the mobile space as a hedge against Android, but if such cooperation actually resulted in MS making real inroads in that market they'd need to quickly shift gears.

It's interesting that, for competitive purposes, Google has positioned themselves as the new Microsoft with an embrace and extend strategy into seemingly every aspect of web-connected interaction. They want to be Facebook, MS, Apple sans the hardware, Twitter, any and every successful online social software, the repository of all media, the nexus for all transactions and the world's biggest ad agency.

As such, they're pretty much locked in a death struggle with everybody, all the time, so it's not surprising that most of the potential alliances are looking to thwart them. It's just that most of those players are also looking to thwart one another in one venue or another, so the dance is likely to be pretty elaborate.
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post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Except Apple's already beating HTC.

I've read somewhere that HTC pretty much purchased S3 (and their box of patents) in order to be able to counter-sue Apple and, eventually, end up sharing IP (or at least minimizing licensing fees).

I haven't seen the timeline of Apple vs. HTC and where would S3 purchase fit in, so I don't know if that is true or not.
post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikon133 View Post

I've read somewhere that HTC pretty much purchased S3 (and their box of patents) in order to be able to counter-sue Apple and, eventually, end up sharing IP (or at least minimizing licensing fees).

I haven't seen the timeline of Apple vs. HTC and where would S3 purchase fit in, so I don't know if that is true or not.

It took place recently, though HTC has long been a shareholder -

On July 6, 2011 it was announced that HTC Corporaton would buy VIA Technologies stake in S3 Graphics thus becoming the majority owner of S3 Graphics.
post #33 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

It's interesting that, for competitive purposes, Google has positioned themselves as the new Microsoft with an embrace and extend strategy into seemingly every aspect of web-connected interaction. They want to be Facebook, MS, Apple sans the hardware, Twitter, any and every successful online social software, the repository of all media, the nexus for all transactions and the world's biggest ad agency.

Ultimately I see Apple and Google burying the hatchet and carving up the mobile space between themselves. Apple will agree to let Google run the Ads platform, which it has clearly more aptitude at, and they'll agree to let Google use iOS as another platform for its web services. They'll continue to us Google as their search provider. Then Google will lose interest in Android, which will slowly fragment itself to death as the various OEMs try to extend it and demonstrate once again their lack of software prowess.

At this point it's not in Apple's interests for Android to die too fast, that would just give more space for WP7.

Ultimately Apple and Google just have too much to offer each other to stay opposed.
post #34 of 34
First came the iPhone, and then everything else.

There's a reason HTC stock dropped like a rock on this news. Folks sense a sh*tstorm about to happen, and the also-rans are downwind.
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