Samsung goes after HTC deal to undercut Apple

Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:03pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Dan Levine and Poornima Gupta

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - When Apple Inc and HTC Corp last week ended their worldwide legal battles with a 10-year patent licensing agreement, they declined to answer a critical question: whether all of Apple's patents were covered by the deal.

It's an enormously important issue for the broader smartphone patent wars. If all the Apple patents are included -including the "user experience" patents that the company has previously insisted it would not license - it could undermine the iPhone makers efforts to permanently ban the sale of products that copy its technology.

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, which could face such a sales ban following a crushing jury verdict against it in August, asked a U.S. judge on Friday to force Apple to turn over a copy of the HTC agreement.

In a court filing, Samsung argued it is "almost certain" that the HTC deal covers some of the patents involved in its own litigation with Apple.

Representatives for Apple and Samsung could not immediately be reached for comment.

Judges are reluctant to block the sale of products if the dispute can be resolved via a licensing agreement. To secure an injunction against Samsung, Apple must show the copying of its technology caused irreparable harm and that money, by itself, is an inadequate remedy.

Ron Laurie, managing director of Inflexion Point Strategy and a veteran IP lawyer, said he found it very unlikely that HTC would agree to a settlement that did not include all the patents. HTC declined to comment.

If the deal did in fact include everything, Laurie and other legal experts said that would represent a very clear signal that Apple under CEO Tim Cook was taking a much different approach to patent issues than his predecessor, Steve Jobs.   Continued...

A shop attendant poses with replicas of HTC, Samsung and Apple's smartphones inside a mobile phone shop in Taipei April 6, 2012. REUTERS/Shengfa Lin