HTC calls for block on Apple products
HTC has hit back in its legal battle with Apple by asking the International Trade Commission (ITC) to ban sales of iPhones, iPads and iPods in the US.
In the complaint dated 12 May, HTC said Apple violated patents on technology that helps devices such as the iPhone manage power and handle phone directories, and on technology that enables the iPad tablet computer to store data when in “sleep” mode, among other applications.
HTC is seeking a ban on importation, marketing and sale of Apple’s devices in the US. Apple declined comment.
We are taking this action against Apple to protect our intellectual property, our industry partners, and most importantly, our customers that use HTC phones
“We are taking this action against Apple to protect our intellectual property, our industry partners, and most importantly, our customers that use HTC phones,” said Jason Mackenzie, HTC’s vice president for North America.
HTC’s action was widely expected after Apple filed a patent infringement suit against the company in March.
Apple’s move against HTC was seen as a proxy for an attack on Google. HTC makes smartphones based on Google’s Android software, which has gained ground on Apple’s popular iPhone.
For its part, Apple accused HTC of infringing 20 patents. In addition, Apple filed a complaint with the ITC and also sued HTC in the U.S. District Court in Delaware.
MKM Partners analyst Tero Kuittinen was not surprised by HTC’s move against Apple, but said the larger question was about HTC’s patent portfolio, which he said did not measure up to those of rival handset makers such as Nokia Oyj.
“I think it’s widely acknowledged that HTC’s IP portfolio is not particularly strong, because they got started on this way later than the other guys,” he said.
CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood said HTC’s patents stretched back to the days before it was making its own branded handsets.
“This move might see it drawing on intellectual property created when it was working as an ODM supplier to several mobile carriers and other manufacturers such as Compaq,” he said. ODM stands for original design manufacturer.
Apple is also fighting a high-profile legal battle with Nokia, the world’s top handset maker. The companies have sued each other over patents related to mobile device technology.