If Apple has its way with the competition, no handset will look or feel like iOS in any capacity. Apple has continued protecting its patents today by filing another complaint against HTC with the International Trade Commission (ITC). The move takes this fight into round two, at the very least, as Apple filed suits earlier this year alleging that HTC used design elements and other technologies in their products that are patented by Apple Inc. According to Apple, HTC is infringing on 20 of their patents.
In both cases Apple has asked the ITC to intervene and prevent the HTC hardware and software products infringing on Apple copyrights from being imported into the U.S., or sold within the country. The second filing from Apple has yet to be made public, so details are sparse at the time of posting.
Right after the first complaint was filed back in March Steve Jobs came right out and said, “We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it, we think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.” It’s pretty clear at this point that Apple passionately believes that HTC is purposely infringing on their IP, and that Apple now intends to see the complaints through until the end.
If you feel like patent lawsuits are running out of control, you’re probably right. Recently S3, a company that both accused Apple of infringing on their IP and that had an ITC ruling in their favour, was purchased by HTC, a move that many believe has to do with HTC’s desire to fight back against Apple’s IP lawsuits. The preliminary ruling will now go before a six-member commission, and the S3 lawsuit will reach its conclusion by November. Much like the ITC complaints filed by Apple against HTC, S3 is asking the ITC to suspend all sales of Apple products that have violated S3 IP.
The mess is probably going to get even messier at this point.
We don’t expect this one to be going away any time soon. Apple was recently rewarded a vague patent for touch screens, which included the phrasing: “[a] computer-implemented method, for use in conjunction with a portable multifunction device with a touch screen display, [that] comprises displaying a portion of page content, including a frame displaying a portion of frame content and also including other content of the page, on the touch screen display.” The patent gives Apple the ability to open a whole new round of lawsuits against HTC if they desire, and probably everyone else in the industry for that matter.
IP lawsuits and squabbles have always been a major part of the technology game, but does anyone else feel like it’s starting to really get out of control?