After the recent announcement by Google related to Motorola’s patent portfolio, HTC has added additional pressure on Apple by filing a patent infringement suit against the Iphone maker. Previously, Apple had sued HTC for infringment of Apples’ patents and HTC lost. Now, HTC has a score to settle against the Iphone maker and based upon their pleading, they may be trying to knock this ball out of the park, by seeking an injunction, treble damages and attorney’s fees.
Some of you may remember when Apple filed suit against HTC back in early 2010 alleging that the company infringing 20 patents related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture, and hardware. Here is a brief explanation of each of the twenty patents. In the suit, Apple filed over 700 pages of exhibits in federal court. Subsequently, the ITC (International Trade Commission) partially supported Apple’s claims when an ITC judge deeming that HTC had infringed two of Apple’s patents. In July, 2011, HTC acquired graphics company S3G in a deal valued at $300 million in a move that some say was designed to purchase patents to fend off Apple in the ongoing lawsuit. Previously, the ITC made a preliminary ruling that Apple has infringed two of S3G’s patent claims. Then Apple filed a new suit against HTC with a U.S. trade panel over some of Apple’s portable electronic devices and software. Now, HTC has filed a separate suit against Apple based upon previously acquired patents (2008 and 2009). Of course, HTC will probably add additional claims or an additional suit based upon the S3G patents.
While, the current litigation playbook employed by Apple is not uncommon between technologically sophisticated competitors, it is reminiscent of the sort of playbook deployed by Microsoft against Apple so many years ago in which so many Apple loyalists came to their aid. While the Fat Lady has not yet begun to prepare for her solo, one wonders if this sort of tactic may cause some Apple aficionados to start changes sides.