ITC rules Mac OS X violates S3 patents, iPhone and iPad do not

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
A US International Trade Commission judge has ruled that two patents held by S3 are being infringed by some of Apple's Mac computers, but invalidated two other patents and stated that Apple's iOS devices are not infringing any of the S3 patents.



According to a report by Bloomberg, the S3 patents, held by the Fremont, California image compression technology firm, have been acquired by Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC for $300 million in an effort to defend that company's Android-based smartphones from iPhone patents leveraged by Apple.



ITC judge James Gildea's ruling reduced the scope of the two S3 patents found to be valid and infringed upon by Mac OS X, and further noted that Macs using Nvidia graphics chips have an implied license to use the patents, limiting Apple's potential liability. If the ruling is upheld by the ITC's six member committee, it could result in the US import of affected Macs being banned.



However, the ITC's finding that Apple's iPhone, iPod touch and iPad are not infringing S3's patents greatly reduces the bargaining power HTC hoped to use in getting Apple to drop its own ITC patent complaints related to smartphones.



The ITC had separately ruled that HTC's Android phones infringed two Apple patents, which could lead to an import ban of HTC phones if similarly upheld by committee. The report noted that Apple has filed a separate complaint with the ITC involving HTC's Flyer tablet (shown below) in addition to its Android smartphones.







A report on the specific patent claims HTC has been found guilty of violating suggests that the infringing technologies are part of the Android architecture, rather than unique enhancements made by HTC. As such, competing Android vendors such as Motorola and Samsung may also be at risk.



HTC and Apple continue to negotiate a settlement to the issues, with HTC's chief financial officer Winston Yung being cited in the report as describing the talks as "on and off." Earlier, Yung has reportedly said the two companies "have have to sit down and figure it out," adding, "we're open to having discussions."



At the same time, HTC's general counsel Grace Lei recently complained to the press that "HTC is disappointed at Apple's constant attempts at litigations instead of competing fairly in the market," adding that "HTC strongly denies all infringement claims by Apple in the past and present and reiterates our determination and commitment to protect our intellectual property rights."



Last week, analyst Mike Abramsky with RBC Capital Markets stated that Apple is likely to demand a high royalty for Android devices, potentially asking for as much as or more than Microsoft already collects from HTC's Android devices.



A series of such royalty fees hitting Android makers could result in making the ostensibly free software more expensive in the long run than custom development. A variety of Android licensees, ranging from Samsung to Motorola, already have or are rumored to be developing their own software independently from Android to hedge such an outcome.



Two of Android's fastest growing licensees in China, Huawei and ZTE, have reportedly begun evaluating the use of Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, suggesting that at least some makers see Microsoft's product as safer than Android. HTC could also see its Android business cannibalized by smaller firms hoping to fly under the radar, and unnoticed by Apple's legal efforts to protect its intellectual property.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 41
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 28,371member
    I guess HTC bought themselves a "get out of jail free card" with their S3 purchase. Now both Apple and HTC have each other by the berries.
  • Reply 2 of 41
    cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    I guess HTC bought themselves a "get out of jail free card" with their S3 purchase. Now both Apple and HTC have each other by the berries.



    Hmm, depends how quickly Apple can switch to using NVDIA chipasets
  • Reply 3 of 41
    noahjnoahj Posts: 4,501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post


    Hmm, depends how quickly Apple can switch to using NVDIA chipasets



    Was thinking the same thing...
  • Reply 4 of 41
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 935member
    Thanks DED, an article which is not unnecessarily slanted.



    IT is going to be a mug's game in a few years.
  • Reply 5 of 41
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 3,954member
    Okay, now this pissing contest is getting interesting. Sitting on the sofa with the popcorn waiting to see this battle work itself out.
  • Reply 6 of 41
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    How many Macs are in use that are infringing? How many HTC devices that are infringing? What level of infringement as a dollar value does this account for in each camp? Too many unknowns at this point to call the game.
  • Reply 7 of 41
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,669member
    Quote:

    HTC is disappointed at Apple's constant attempts at litigations instead of competing fairly in the market



    So Apple spends years and years investing in developing their own operating systems for their own hardware. HTC grabs an off-the-shelf OS and invest very little effort on their part and want to accuse Apple of not wanting to compete fairly!?



    Sorry, but both Microsoft and Apple have invested millions, if not billions of dollars in research, developing, testing, producing, and maintaining their operating systems, you better believe they're both going to make sure no one is stealing their IP.



    Neither go after Android (Google) directly, because Google doesn't profit from Android development. It's the OEMs that are pushing the OS on the market to sell their devices and [hopefully] profit from the sales.
  • Reply 8 of 41
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post


    So Apple spends years and years investing in developing their own operating systems



    You mean like UNIX?
  • Reply 9 of 41
    cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    How many Macs are in use that are infringing? How many HTC devices that are infringing? What level of infringement as a dollar value does this account for in each camp? Too many unknowns at this point to call the game.



    Hmm, pretty much all macs use either Intel or AMD graphics as of right now, but remember this result is only preliminary. It will be a while before any final ITC panel ruling, Apple may be able to reduce the potential damage considerably in advance now that they know the exact claims that they have to worry about - and on which products.



    All HTC android phones infringe, not sure about the tablets.
  • Reply 10 of 41
    cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post


    Sorry, but both Microsoft and Apple have invested millions, if not billions of dollars in research, developing, testing, producing, and maintaining their operating systems, you better believe they're both going to make sure no one is stealing their IP.



    You did notice that this was a case in which Apple was the defendant right?
  • Reply 11 of 41
    iaeeniaeen Posts: 588member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post


    Hmm, depends how quickly Apple can switch to using NVDIA chipasets



    No kidding. Somehow I think that this ruling is a major disappointment for HTC. They missed the jackpot (iPhone and iPad) and Apple is left with a way out. Meanwhile, Apple still has the power to seriously hurt them.
  • Reply 12 of 41
    kenlileskenliles Posts: 28member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


    You mean like UNIX?



    yes actually; they purchase the work at NeXT (mach kernel) which became OSX core- Surrounded by Berkeley Unix
  • Reply 13 of 41
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,669member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post


    You did notice that this was a case in which Apple was the defendant right?



    Yes I did notice that... Sorry, I thought it was obvious I was referring to HTC's statement, "HTC is disappointed at Apple's constant attempts at litigations instead of competing fairly in the market", apparently it wasn't that obvious!?



    At this point it's safe to say that Apple can compete fairly, and not only that, demonstrate their ability to steer markets in new directions.





    I'd also like to point out this statement from HTC, "HTC strongly denies all infringement claims by Apple in the past and present..."



    Uh, HTC didn't develop Android, how could they possibly know if Android doesn't violate another company's IP. They, in fact, KNOW IT DOES. Why else are they paying Microsoft a royalty for every Android device they sell!?
  • Reply 14 of 41
    cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post


    I'd also like to point out this statement from HTC, "HTC strongly denies all infringement claims by Apple in the past and present..."



    Now you're just being silly - of course an HTC exec is going to insist that they're not infringing, an Apple exec or lawyer would insist that they aren't either. No firm will ever admit that it is or even might be infringing IP until after the ink is dry on the licensing agreement or the judgement has been handed down in the courts. It would be a monumental cock-up to admit it in public beforehand.
  • Reply 15 of 41
    cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iaeen View Post


    No kidding. Somehow I think that this ruling is a major disappointment for HTC. They missed the jackpot (iPhone and iPad) and Apple is left with a way out. Meanwhile, Apple still has the power to seriously hurt them.



    It's not a great way out though, they may well prefer a software solution to having to re-engineer the mac book air just after doing a release.
  • Reply 16 of 41
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,669member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


    You mean like UNIX?



    You're obviously trolling, but I'll bite anyway...



    Apple has had its hands in UNIX since the late 80's when they developed A/UX; a UNIX based operating system for their Macintosh computers. They also started the mkLinux project in the mid 90's in an attempt to port Linux to the PowerPC / Mach kernel. Then in 1996 Apple bought a company called NeXT, who's operating system, NextStep, was developed in the mid 80's and was a fork of BSD 4.2 or 4.3. Mac OS X is actually based off NeXT's operating system, but with major changes. Then around 2002 or 2003 Apple released the BSD (UNIX) layer of OS X called Darwin as an open source project. Anyone who knew UNIX could easily see that the system was vastly different from the "standard" BSD distributions at the time. (I know, I used it as web server and network router for a couple of years and finding documentation was extremely difficult.)



    So yeah, they've even spent a lot of time and resources on UNIX.



    However, from 1984 through 2001 Apple developed the Mac OS, which was not UNIX. Also, from the 80's until the late 90's they developed the Newton OS, which was also not UNIX. The patents HTC was found guilty of violating were from 1996, and the IP was used both in the Mac OS and Newton OS. Furthermore, they also developed DOS and ProDOS for their Apple II computers and they developed the Lisa OS, which was much more advanced than even the Mac OS when it was first released a year later.



    So I'd say that Apple has invested a lot in operating system development for a very long time now, in fact, even longer than Microsoft.
  • Reply 17 of 41
    vvswarupvvswarup Posts: 326member
    So HTC effectively paid $300 million for junk.
  • Reply 18 of 41
    cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vvswarup View Post


    So HTC effectively paid $300 million for junk.



    At this stage that would appear to be an exceedingly premature assumption. This patent could easily result in an injunction on MacBook Airs, and that alone would force Apple to enter a cross-license with HTC.
  • Reply 19 of 41
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post


    Hmm, depends how quickly Apple can switch to using NVDIA chipasets



    All of their current Macs are shipping with either ATI or Intel HD Graphics, so Apple shipments aren't affected in any way right?



    Funny that HTC purchased $300 million for nothing.
  • Reply 20 of 41
    res1233res1233 Posts: 18member
    Never mind.
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