UK judge says HTC phones don't infringe Apple patents

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
On the heels of a legal victory in the U.S., HTC also won a court decision in the U.K. on Wednesday, where a judge ruled that HTC's devices do not infringe on four Apple patents related to touchscreen technology.

Judge Christopher Floyd also deemed that three of the patents asserted by Apple in the case are invalid, according to Bloomberg. The court found that a photo management patent owned by Apple is valid, but deemed that the remaining inventions — ones related to the slide-to-unlock feature, multi-touch functionality, and changing alphabets — are invalid.

Apple has asserted the same four patents against HTC in German lawsuits that are scheduled to be heard later this year. Wednesday's decision was portrayed as a "considerable defeat for Apple" by Peter Bell, an attorney at Stevens & Bolton LLP who spoke with Bloomberg and wasn't involved in the case.

The U.K. decision comes only a few days after the U.S. International Trade Commission denied Apple's emergency request seeking a customs ban of HTC smartphones. Though the ITC denied Apple's request, it is still looking into redesigned phones from the Taiwanese handset maker are infringing on Apple's patented inventions.

The U.S. case centers around a different Apple patent related to "data detectors." That invention actually predates mobile modern operating systems like iOS and Android, and first appeared in Mac OS 8 in the 1990s, allowing text with information like website and e-mail addresses to be context-sensitive.

HTC One X
HTC's One X smartphone


HTC smartphones shipped to America were held up by U.S. Customs for review in May after the ITC issued an injunction on the devices. But HTC developed a workaround that allowed those devices to begin trickling into the U.S.

But Apple argued to the ITC that HTC had made "misstatements" to U.S. Customs that allowed the company to dodge the injunction and have its devices sold in America.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    sleepy3sleepy3 Posts: 244member


    You win some, you lose some. 


     


    On to the next one. 

  • Reply 2 of 35
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post


    You win some, you lose some. 


     


    On to the next one. 



     


    In this thermonuclear war, enough damage has been done to HTC already, from both Apple and Samsung. 


     


    http://htcsource.com/2012/05/htc-global-smartphone-marketshare-plummets-to-4-8-in-q1/


     


    But Apple still needs to keep pushing if they're serious about this. 

  • Reply 3 of 35
    sleepy3sleepy3 Posts: 244member


    Just a question though. After the decision Apple said “Competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours,”


     


    Now, seeing as a judge JUST decalered three of the patents bogus and the the only valid one HTC was found NOT to infringe in any way....isn't this kinda close to contempt?


     


    I don't know, just seems kinda like they are throwing up a middle finger to the Judge and saying 'He don't know Shiznit, that's a BS ruling, you are wrong, we are right"


     


    I much more expected to see something more dignified like "Apple respects the court's ruling today, however, we will continue to defend our IP where we feel infringement has occurred."

  • Reply 4 of 35
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post


    Just a question though. After the decision Apple said “Competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours,”


     


    Now, seeing as a judge JUST decalered three of the patents bogus and the the only valid one HTC was found NOT to infringe in any way....isn't this kinda close to contempt?


     


    I don't know, just seems kinda like they are throwing up a middle finger to the Judge and saying 'He don't know Shiznit, that's a BS ruling, you are wrong, we are right"


     


    I much more expected to see something more dignified like "Apple respects the court's ruling today, however, we will continue to defend our IP where we feel infringement has occurred."



     


    Apple has always presented a confident front. 


     


    We don't know this for sure, but their lawyers are probably aware of their long-term plans and the wisdom of their strategy. Courtroom decorum is one thing, but there's no reason to mince words. 


     


    If Apple feels confident and secure in their position, then they can trumpet it all they like, and probably should. Apple is an aggressive competitor and are aggressive about thejr IP, and have been since Day 1 of the company. There is no reason Apple's attitude about their position should prejudice a judge against them. So far, Apple has been the only one in these patent wars who has been able to force the competition to jump through hoops - technical or legal. And with each appearance in court, Apple sends a VERY clear message to other  competitors and would-be infringers (especially smaller ones with less financial wherewithal): make VERY sure you're clear about your patents, because if you aren't, we'll be seeing each other in court, and it WON'T be a short ride. 


     


    Apple, to their credit, has demonstrated very clearly, that they are not afraid to use the court system to test the validity of competitors' patents. These actions will give everyone an opportunity to *really* see where everyone stands. Apple is keeping everyone honest. And alot of companies have never had to fess up and really determine whether what they *think* they own is actually theirs. This sort of litigation has everyone lay their cards on the table. We're seeing everyone's true colours now. 


     


    If your products and patents are legit, there's no reason they can't withstand legal tests. Apple gave fair warning in 2007 (and once again, loud and clear in 2009) that they're ready to protect their IP if necessary. We're seeing that they really meant it, and that's what the courts are there for.  

  • Reply 5 of 35
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    That's okay.

    They're Hardly. True. Competition.
  • Reply 6 of 35
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GTR View Post



    That's okay.

    They're...Hardly. True. Competition.


     


    If you think about it, the only "true" competition to Apple would be another company that does a vertically-integrated business model. All these so-called competitors that either license out their OS or slam together boxes that run someone else's OS aren't in the same league. They, by default, can't be. Horizontal business models, all else being equal, will provide a comparatively inferior level of User Experience each time. A vertically-integrated system done right, will nearly every time beat a horizontal business model. Horizontal business models are built around volume-pushing, not a qualitative framework. If you can really master the "turn-key" solution, you're golden. 

  • Reply 7 of 35
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post


    Just a question though. After the decision Apple said “Competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours,”


     


    Now, seeing as a judge JUST decalered three of the patents bogus and the the only valid one HTC was found NOT to infringe in any way....isn't this kinda close to contempt?


     



     


    there's a thing called appeals which Apple will file. As is the way the game is played. 


     


    Also AI is about hyperbolic to call Apple's not getting an injunction in the US a 'victory' for HTC. There is still the court case that HTC could still lose. 

  • Reply 8 of 35
    drealothdrealoth Posts: 79member


    I'm pretty sick of these patent lawsuits. In part, I worry that it represents the MBAs taking over the visionary company. Apple is doing a fantastic job - the iPhone is brilliant. 50 years from now, people will still talk about the iPhone (and probably not the HTC One X) and iPad (and not the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1). I think that it's inexcusable for Samsung and Google to use FRAND patents in the way that they did, but I also think that it's inexcusable for Apple to be so litigious against their competitors with these trivial software patents (design patents, such as versus the Galaxy Tab, I think that Apple has used very fairly). I mean, I imagine that Apple and Samsung's relationship is more complicated than any of us realize, and so there is probably a lot more to this patent fight than the media is aware of, but I think that Apple going after Android in general is of poor form, and not a road that I hope Apple chooses to travel down.

  • Reply 9 of 35
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


    There is no reason Apple's attitude about their position should prejudice a judge against them. 



     


    If a judge is making rulings based on Apple's attitude and not the law etc then that judge will find him/herself overruled in appeals. Same with any company. 

  • Reply 10 of 35
    sleepy3sleepy3 Posts: 244member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


     


    Apple has always presented a confident front. 


     


    We don't know this for sure, but their lawyers are probably aware of their long-term plans and the wisdom of their strategy. Courtroom decorum is one thing, but there's no reason to mince words. 


     


    If Apple feels confident and secure in their position, then they can trumpet it all they like, and probably should. Apple is an aggressive competitor and are aggressive about thejr IP, and have been since Day 1 of the company. There is no reason Apple's attitude about their position should prejudice a judge against them. So far, Apple has been the only one in these patent wars who has been able to force the competition to jump through hoops - technical or legal. And with each appearance in court, Apple sends a VERY clear message to other  competitors and would-be infringers (especially smaller ones with less financial wherewithal): make VERY sure you're clear about your patents, because if you aren't, we'll be seeing each other in court, and it WON'T be a short ride. 


     


    Apple, to their credit, has demonstrated very clearly, that they are not afraid to use the court system to test the validity of competitors' patents. These actions will give everyone an opportunity to *really* see where everyone stands. Apple is keeping everyone honest. And alot of companies have never had to fess up and really determine whether what they *think* they own is actually theirs. This sort of litigation has everyone lay their cards on the table. We're seeing everyone's true colours now. 


     


    If your products and patents are legit, there's no reason they can't withstand legal tests. Apple gave fair warning in 2007 (and once again, loud and clear in 2009) that they're ready to protect their IP if necessary. We're seeing that they really meant it, and that's what the courts are there for.  



    Of course, the risk is that it can go both ways, as has been seen today with the invalidation of several apple patents, and the loss of push services when Apple violated Motorolla's patents (those were non-FRAND by the way), as well as the various patent trolls that Apple has had to pay off. 


     


    I can't help but think that having the slide to unlock patent invalidated as well as a patent related to multi-touch is a blow that wouldn't sit well. 


     


    And in all of this we have to remember that Google has not shown its hand. Even the motorolla lawsuits use motorolla patents. No Google patents have been brought into any proceedings (except in HTC's case but the court ruled that HTC can't rent-a-patent so they were not allowed to use them).


     


    And with Google still stubbornly sticking to its "We will never sue someone, we are not evil" mentality, it will be interesting to see what Apple does. It should be noted that Apple could just have easily gone after the SOURCE (i.e. Google) and obtain a cease and desist order for all android (after all, manufacturers do have to obtain a LICENSE for android, hence as a licensing body, surely Google will be liable), and therefore kill off Samsung, HTC, ZTE and every other android manufacturer in one swoop. The reasons I can see that apple are not doing this are either


     


    1. They just like a long drawn out process


    2. They know something about Google patents that we don't know, and hence are not willing to take on that fight, knowing that Google will, by nature, NEVER initiate a suit. 

  • Reply 11 of 35
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Drealoth View Post


    I'm pretty sick of these patent lawsuits.


     


    and not a road that I hope Apple chooses to travel down.



     


    Apple's always been litigious. This is nothing new. And they've been *especially* litigious under Steve Jobs. And he certainly wasn't an MBA-type.


     


    Tim Cook is simply doing exactly what Jobs would have wanted to do anyway. Jobs has aways been quite aggressive about Apple's IP.


     


    Does that make you feel better? 


     


    Why shouldn't they go down the litigation road? They've been going down it in one form or another since the 80s.


     


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Inc._litigation

  • Reply 12 of 35
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Drealoth View Post


    but I think that Apple going after Android in general is of poor form, and not a road that I hope Apple chooses to travel down.



     


    Too late, they are down that road. As Steve Jobs said they will go "thermonuclear way" on Android and its users if they are violating Apple's IP. And they have every right legally to do so. 


    Look at it this way, Apple can afford the costs and it benefits everyone to have their non FRAND patents tested in the courts and if needed invalidated so that other companies are free to use that IP rather than bother to create something new (which isn't always the ideal thing from a customer use viewpoint). 


     


    Take for example the whole 'slide to unlock' patent. That idea is the most intuitive and simple for the customers to understand. Why should Apple have a patent on the idea of running your finger across a screen to 'activate' it and the device's internal functions? I believe it was Germany that said that they shouldn't and invalidated their patent as too vague. However Apple had also filed an amended patent on the notion of the software coming with a very specific and unchangeable (by the user) gesture in a very specific location of the screen that was labeled via an image that might or might not also have words to tell the user what to do and where. In contrast to the user defined gestures that could be anything done anywhere and no clues are given about what that gesture is (so that it acts as both unlock and your pin because it is your secret swipe). Said country said that that amended patent was valid and yet all but one complaint on that patent was tossed because the handsets in question didn't define the gesture the user did. Which is as it should have been. 

  • Reply 13 of 35
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post


    Of course, the risk is that it can go both ways, as has been seen today with the invalidation of several apple patents, and the loss of push services when Apple violated Motorolla's patents (those were non-FRAND by the way), as well as the various patent trolls that Apple has had to pay off. 


     


     



    So? 


     


    It costs Apple next to nothing. And certainly doesn't cost them sales or consumer mindshare. 

  • Reply 14 of 35
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post


    And with Google still stubbornly sticking to its "We will never sue someone, we are not evil" mentality, it will be interesting to see what Apple does. It should be noted that Apple could just have easily gone after the SOURCE (i.e. Google) and obtain a cease and desist order for all android (after all, manufacturers do have to obtain a LICENSE for android, hence as a licensing body, surely Google will be liable), 



     


    Google lets the OEMs add to the software so before Apple can sue Google they would have to prove without a doubt that the offending items are from the core Android software. That's not that easy to do since not every OEM presents the same things in the same way. There's literally 100s of variations to have to inspect. 


     


    Also if it was part of the core software, why hasn't Samsung etc just used that as a defense. Either it is because their deal with Google prohibits such a move or the offending stuff isn't part of the core at all. Apple can't find this out before a lawsuit against the OEM because they would have no legal recourse to demand access to a confidential contract. 


     


    And folks lets not forget the source here. It's Bloomberg. The same guys that are telling us without a doubt that finally after 3 years of rumors there will also be a fall iPad model, it will be a 7 inch, there is definitely a real Apple TV, etc etc. 

  • Reply 15 of 35
    drealothdrealoth Posts: 79member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


     


    Apple's always been litigious. This is nothing new. And they've been *especially* litigious under Steve Jobs. And he certainly wasn't an MBA-type.


     


    Tim Cook is simply doing exactly what Jobs would have wanted to do anyway. Jobs has aways been quite aggressive about Apple's IP.


     


    Does that make you feel better? 


     


    Why shouldn't they go down the litigation road? They've been going down it in one form or another since the 80s.


     


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Inc._litigation



     


    The aggressive lawsuits with their software patent things are fairly new for them, it seems. I wonder how much of this is a relic of Jobs' feverish last few years (I'm saying this with a lot of respect - the man had a mission, and knew that he had very little time left to execute on it), or an actual shift in direction of the company. I think that this is fundamentally different than design patents too - if you look at GEM, or S Voice, or the Galaxy Tab, those are obviously designed to look similar to Apple products, and so while design patents make me uneasy, Apple has been I believe very fair in when they enforce them. With software patents, Apple's a big player, but they're not the only player - if they end up in a war over these vague ideas, we'll end up with really fragmented and bad software on all fronts, and it'll slow down progress a ton. Software is so intertwined, and everyone is infringing on everyone's IP, and I think that so long as there is a healthy respect for trademark (which I admit Samsung doesn't always have), competition will still be very healthy and good. I mean, imagine if Google started enforcing their Maps patents - we'll end up with an iOS 6 Maps application that isn't allowed to do offline navigation, or is not allowed to do voice search, or something. And because these firms are so busy enforcing their IP, prices go up for everybody, and small players are forced out of the market because they cannot afford to participate in the courts.


     


    What it comes down to is that I think Apple is more than capable of winning on its own merits.


     


    Also, pretty amusing about Carl Sagan.

  • Reply 16 of 35
    sleepy3sleepy3 Posts: 244member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


     


    Google lets the OEMs add to the software so before Apple can sue Google they would have to prove without a doubt that the offending items are from the core Android software. That's not that easy to do since not every OEM presents the same things in the same way. There's literally 100s of variations to have to inspect. 


     



     


    I will disagree based on the fact that the entire android source code is available to anyone, including you and me, directly from google at source.android.com through the aosp. Its not iOS where you will have get a court to make Apple give you the source code for iOS.


     


    Should be a cinch to load it up and see that vanilla android has multi-touch baked in and hence call out google for it, wouldn't you think? Hell, the emulator can run on just about any PC or mac, so just take them to court, load up the android emulator, show the feature, case closed, android is dead, move on to suing Windows phone.

  • Reply 17 of 35
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Drealoth View Post


     


    The aggressive lawsuits with their software patent things are fairly new for them, it seems. I wonder how much of this is a relic of Jobs' feverish last few years (I'm saying this with a lot of respect - the man had a mission, and knew that he had very little time left to execute on it), or an actual shift in direction of the company. I think that this is fundamentally different than design patents too - if you look at GEM, or S Voice, or the Galaxy Tab, those are obviously designed to look similar to Apple products, and so while design patents make me uneasy, Apple has been I believe very fair in when they enforce them. With software patents, Apple's a big player, but they're not the only player - if they end up in a war over these vague ideas, we'll end up with really fragmented and bad software on all fronts, and it'll slow down progress a ton. Software is so intertwined, and everyone is infringing on everyone's IP, and I think that so long as there is a healthy respect for trademark (which I admit Samsung doesn't always have), competition will still be very healthy and good. I mean, imagine if Google started enforcing their Maps patents - we'll end up with an iOS 6 Maps application that isn't allowed to do offline navigation, or is not allowed to do voice search, or something. And because these firms are so busy enforcing their IP, prices go up for everybody, and small players are forced out of the market because they cannot afford to participate in the courts.


     


    What it comes down to is that I think Apple is more than capable of winning on its own merits.


     


    Also, pretty amusing about Carl Sagan.



     


    When I read about the Carl Sagan dispute I burst out laughing. Apple was clearly serious as a heart attack about keeping the BHA codename. 


     


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Sagan


     


    In 1994, engineers at Apple Computer code-named the Power Macintosh 7100 "Carl Sagan" in the hope that Apple would make "billions and billions" with the sale of the PowerMac 7100.[4] The name was only used internally, but Sagan was concerned that it would become a product endorsement and sent Apple a cease and desist letter. Apple complied, but engineers retaliated by changing the internal codename to "BHA" for "Butt-Head Astronomer".[63][64] Sagan then sued Apple for libel, a form of defamation, in federal court. The court granted Apple's motion to dismiss Sagan's claims and opined in dicta that a reader aware of the context would understand Apple was "clearly attempting to retaliate in a humorous and satirical way", and that "It strains reason to conclude that Defendant was attempting to criticize Plaintiff's reputation or competency as an astronomer. One does not seriously attack the expertise of a scientist using the undefined phrase 'butt-head'."[63][65] Sagan then sued for Apple's original use of his name and likeness, but again lost.[66] Sagan appealed the ruling.[66] In November 1995, an out of court settlement was reached and Apple's office of trademarks and patents released a conciliatory statement that "Apple has always had great respect for Dr. Sagan. It was never Apple's intention to cause Dr. Sagan or his family any embarrassment or concern."[67]




     


     

  • Reply 18 of 35


    IIRC, at the time, Apple also released a desktop sound named Sosumi (So Sue Me) related to the Carl Sagan incident :-)

     

  • Reply 19 of 35
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    maccanuck wrote: »
    IIRC, at the time, Apple also released a desktop sound named Sosumi (So Sue Me) related to the Carl Sagan incident :-)

    That was for Apple Corps and it was back in the Apple ][ era.
  • Reply 20 of 35
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    drealoth wrote: »
    Also, pretty amusing about Carl Sagan.

    Yes, but it's odd that the Carl Sagan incident is used as evidence to support the claim that Apple is litigious. That's exactly backwards. Apple didn't file suit - Sagan did. And Sagan essentially lost.
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