The verdict is in and U.S. International Trade Commission judge Carl Charneski has ruled in Apple’s favor for 2 out of 10 patent infringement claim lawsuits against HTC. What does this all mean for the future of HTC as well as Android and other devices running the Android operating system?
As many of you are probably aware of, Apple has been on quite the lawsuit rampage lately. Filing claims against huge corporations who they believe have stolen one or more of their inventions and freely using them for their mobile devices all the while claiming them as their own.
Apple CEO, Steve Jobs stated the following:
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.
HTC does plan to appeal the 2 lawsuits ruled against them and of course nothing is set in stone yet. Lawsuits can be a rather lengthy process and this is currently nothing more than an initial determination. In other words, HTC is not required to halt production of any of their mobile devices just yet. The case has yet to be reviewed by a six-member Commission and a final ruling is due by no later than December 06, 2011.
Grace Lei, a member of the General council for HTC has responded by saying:
We are highly confident we have a strong case for the ITC appeals process and are fully prepared to defend ourselves using all means possible.
Apple is by far the most profitable company in the tech industry, so they can certainly afford the best of the best when it comes to lawyers. They have recently been battling other large companies as well for similar infringements including Samsung and Motorola.
So what does this all mean for the future of Android tablets and smartphone devices? Truth is, nobody really knows just yet, it’s too early to tell but if Apple does go on to win these lawsuits it could be potentially very bad for Google, the Android OS and Android powered device manufacturers. The ITC could very well ban the import of various Android powered devices into the US. Whatever the final ruling becomes, it will have a huge impact one way or another.
HTC is Asia’s 2nd largest smartphone manufacturer and Android is the most popular OS among all smartphones in the US. So, a ruling against HTC could prove to be very crippling for not only them but all other companies partnered with Google Android as well. Google is averaging more than half a million new Android device activations daily. Those are some very massive and powerful numbers that could come to a devastating halt depending on how this all pans out.
The 2 patents that the judge believes HTC has no intellectual property rights to are numbered 5,946,647 and 6,343,263. According to Steve Jobs both patents are critical to the core of Google’s Android OS. One is for processing serially transmitted signal data in real-time and the other patent is essentially a method for performing structured action relating to data that is computer-generated. Yeah, sounds rather vague I know. Needless to say, even without in-depth details about what exactly the patents are for they play a tremendously big role in how the Android OS functions.
Steve Jobs also went on to say:
We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.
As usual I will work vigorously around the clock (ok not completely accurate, I need to take breaks now and again too) to keep you updated on this situation as well as other tablet industry related news. I do my best to remain unbiased when it comes to this type of thing. There’s always 2 (or more) sides to the story and things are not always what they seem, thus the reason we have judges and juries for this type of thing.