Apple Ends Patent Dispute With HTC, Announces 10-Year Licensing Agreement

Apple Ends Patent Dispute With HTC, Announces 10-Year Licensing Agreement

Apple and HTC have finally put the boxing gloves down.

After years of battling in courtrooms around the world, Apple and HTC have reached an agreement over patent licensing that will be in effect for the next 10 years. Both companies have spent millions of dollars in ongoing lawsuits relating specifically to smartphone patents for the iPhone and HTC’s Android devices.

HTC was sued first by Apple back in 2010 with more than a dozen iPhone-related patents, and HTC then sued Apple a year later with infringement claims relating to not only the iPhone, but also the iPad and Mac.

Apple’s joint press release with HTC today announces the end of a long and tedious battle over patent litigation:

TAIPEI, Taiwan and CUPERTINO, California—November 10, 2012—HTC and Apple® have reached a global settlement that includes the dismissal of all current lawsuits and a ten-year license agreement. The license extends to current and future patents held by both parties. The terms of the settlement are confidential.

“HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC.

“We are glad to have reached a settlement with HTC,” said Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. “We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation.”

It’s refreshing to see two tech companies finally reach what sounds like a reasonable settlement. Don’t expect Samsung and Apple to hold hands when all is said and done.

  • 5imo

    A great step in the right direction, hopefully Apple will renew the deal with MS when that runs out.

  • flitzy

    Honestly, HTC isn’t bad. I’d much rather see Apple work with them then the rats at Samsung.

  • Conor Conay Jackson

    I would’ve thought the proper way to have started that would have been “TAIPEI, Republic of China” instead of ‘Taiwan’…meh.

  • buckustoothnail

    The reason for this settlement between Apple and HTC has very little to do with HTC’s implementation of Android, which quite frankly, if that was the main reason for their dispute, Apple wouldn’t have settled.

    No, this settlement is about APPLE realizing it was facing a LOSING patent infringement battle against HTC and its LTE patents that could have lead to a sales injunction against all iPhone 5, iPad Mini and iPad 4 LTE models in the US.

    The judge in the case had already cautioned Apple that he would have to be “overwhelmed with evidence” to grant their request to invalidate HTC’s LTE patents. If he didn’t invalidate those patents, it would basically be an air-tight case for HTC as Apple hadn’t argued that they didn’t use the technology covered by those patents (which is beyond dispute), only that HTC shouldn’t have been awarded them.

    It’s not a surprise that the terms of the settlement were kept “confidential”, but if they are ever released it will be revealed that it is APPLE paying HTC for licensing fees, not the other way around.

    Unfortunately for Apple, they are involved in a similar case with Samsung in the EU with regards to infringements against Samsung’s LTE patents in the iPhone 5, iPad Mini and iPad 4.

    It’s unlikely Samsung would agree to a settlement. Rather, it’s more likely they’ll play hardball and force a permanent sales injunction on those Apple products in the EU, which would land a crippling blow to Apple, ceasing revenue from their top three highest grossing products in their second most important market, and sending their AAPL share price into a spinning nose dive from which they may never recover.

  • Robert X

    Unfortunately for Apple, they are involved in a similar case with Samsung in the EU with regards to infringements against Samsung’s LTE patents in the iPhone 5, iPad Mini and iPad 4.

    Samsung is generally considered to be wrong here, FWIW.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a senior writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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