back to article HTC loses prelim patent ruling to Apple, takes stock hit

HTC violated two patents held by Apple, the US International Trade Commission confirmed in a preliminary ruling late last week. However, the decision has yet to secure the backing of ITC commissioners. Despite that, the Financial Times reports that shares in HTC have tumbled 6.5 per cent as fears grew that the Taiwanese phone …


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  1. Earl Jones Of Potatoes


    could it be that HTC's new slogan turn into "Quietly steeling IPs and calling myself brilliant"

    1. ezman

      Where are you Larry?

      This isn’t about hurting HTC because obviously Apple shifts more than enough stuff to not worry too much about them.

      This is purely an action to raise concern amongst manufacturers and try to stymie the attractiveness of the platform.

      The patents in question are probably not going to hold, but Apple has enough money to drag this through the courts for long enough to create prolonged uncertainty as to what liabilities the manufacturers may have.

      And together with Microsoft and Oracle they are working in a concerted manner, for differing reasons to hype this IP uncertainty.

      Again, these patents don’t have to stick, these companies have enough money to keep going back to court again and again. The sole aim is to reduce investor confidence in the manufacturers who adopt the Android OS.

      At the very least the manufacturers will back down and pay a licensing price, purely to seek some finality in the matter.

      Again, this is just part of a concerted effort to undermine the platform.

      Shame on Apple and their deluded fundamentalist followers who support this action, but where is Google in all of this? The silence is deafening as usual.

      1. amehaye

        Where is Larry

        Google was caught sleeping while on duty. They do not have enough patents to enter a war right now, nor will they have in the near future.

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Google is not silent;txt

        Their silence seems to be press generated or too keep their powder dry.

    2. dotdavid


      Is that you?

    3. Levente Szileszky
      Thumb Down

      RE: IPs

      You meant Apple's, the world's biggest copycat machine's new slogan, right? FYI Apple has never invented anything in its entire existence - nada, nil, nothing.

      The lunatic, totally broken US patent system is one thing but accusing HTC stealing from Apple when HTC was already on the market 5 YEARS ahead of Apple is simply a classic lowlife Apple trick to intimidate competiton, hoping it will turn the tide of Android, now activating over half a million devices every day.

      Typical Steve "Freedom From Porn" Jobs tactics: when your marketing BS does not work anymore then spread FUD and use big, bold words with a big stick and keep abusing the system as long as it pays - it's the only thing they know as Apple never invented a single thing, only advanced existing inventions.

      1. Giles Jones Gold badge


        If you don't invent anything and use standards you're evil.

        If you invent proprietary technology and don't use standard then you're evil.

        So which is it?

        Anyone can patent an idea, you don't have to have produced an innovative product.

        IBM and Microsoft have some of the largest IP portfolios and yet both of them are perceived as dull and produce nothing ground breaking.

    4. P Zero

      The awkward moment

  2. Wang N Staines


    A U.S system found in favour of a U.S company !!!!

    1. DZ-Jay

      Re: Haaaa

      @Wang N Staines:

      Oh, I see. If Apple loses, it shows how greedy and evil they are for abusing the courts with frivolous lawsuits. But if Apple wins, it must be because the courts are corrupted and biased in favour of them.


      1. Martijn Bakker


        Not quite.

        If Apple (a latecomer to the smartphone market and a pure sales company with a R&D budget of only about 10% of their operating income in 2009) can win a patent dispute against HTC (a smartphone pioneer with an R&D budget 60% in 2009) for their smartphone patents, then surely one can be forgiven for asking wether the courts might be biased or corrupt.

        As for Apple being evil if they loose.. Well, I don't think anyone reading these pages has enough faith left in the US patent system to imply any relation between accurate moral justification and the outcome of a patent dispute. Apple might be evil.. but a patent case is no way to prove that.

      2. Rob Crawford


        yes that's pretty much the case.

        Seemingly prior art and generally fuzzy patents are no barrier to US patient applications, with a seeming inability to recognise that anything created outside the US actually exists, until of course a US company patents the existing product.

        Do a bit of reading on the subject

  3. Anonymous Coward

    What about

    Putting all these patent trolls, companies and lawyers onto a deserted island and let them slug it out.

    Winner takes all.

    Its ironic that this idea seems more reasonable that what is currently happening.

  4. Tom 7 Silver badge

    No - HTC lost a bit for now

    the US is losing bigtime

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Apple slinging FUD

    --next on news: After "inventing" front facing camera for video conferencing (only over Wifi, only with other iDevices) Apple incorporates innovative notification system in upcoming iOS 5! (as was seen on Android, WebOS, TouchFlo of HTC WM fame)

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge


      If so many others have implemented such a notification (as admitted in your email) then the concept is wide open and anyone can produce their version of it.

      It is unlikely to be covered by a patent.

      Sometimes there are only so many ways you can implement a feature. If you want to display a list of information to a user then how are you going to do this without making it look like other systems?

      Have you noticed menus tend to look the same, big square boxes with lists of things to pick?

      Have you noticed how a list of emails in an email client looks similar to that of another email client? these are a list of "notifications" of events and information, ie. you receiving a message. With outlook and other systems you also receive meeting requests and other notifications which also appear in this list.

      The concept of mixed notifications in a list is a very common concept, good luck defending that patent (I doubt it even exists).

    2. Matt Siddall

      @What About

      "Putting all these patent trolls, companies and lawyers onto a deserted island and let them slug it out."

      Already been done. It's called America

    3. John Angelico


      What, you wanna give the winner the WHOLE island?

    4. Bill B
      Thumb Down

      USA loses

      I very much agree with this. The US with its broken patents system is totally unprepared to take on the changes that are happening in the global market.

      If a US company has to have a fighting fund so that it is protected against patent attack then that is money that could have been spent on research and innovation. Companies outside the US, selling to markets outside the US, don't have that problem.

      There is a danger that the emerging economies (China, India et al) will out innovate and in the long term, out sell the US based companies when dealing with non US markets.

      Even now there are some European companies that ignore the US as a market, and concentrate their resources on expanding elsewhere. They may have products that break so called US patents, but if they don't sell to the US, who cares?

  6. jay_bea

    Killing competitors

    I can't see it being in Apple's interest to have Android competitors wiped out - everyone has gained from the massive growth in interest in smartphones stimulated by Apple and Android. What Apple are probably more interested in, like Microsoft, is license fees for using its patented technology, if the patents stick. This not only brings them additional income, but also raises the cost of Android compared with Apple ones.

    As ezman notes, the skirmishes with the individual manufacturers are part of a wider battle between Google with Android as its "mobile advertising platform" and everyone else who wants a cut of Google's ad revenues. Perhaps Google's silence is because it knows that one way or another Android is going to start costing it in license fees to MS, Oracle and Apple.

    1. jai

      The Sound of Google's Silence

      Trouble is, Google's Silence sounds like it just doesn't care.

      So why should manufacturer's continue to make Android devices when they can't get any help/assistance from Google?

    2. Levente Szileszky

      RE: Killing competitors

      You clearly have no clue about the modus operandi of Puritan-in-Chief of Apple, Steve "Freedom From Porn" Jobs - he/his company became one of the most anti-competitive organizations of the world.

      A truly disgusting person and corporation, with the most dishonest and unscrupulous business processes aka lowlife tricks. I never thought I will say this but even Microsoft is less monopolistic than Apple.

      You really need to read up on the subject before you post any more silly ideas - start with a current issue and check out Apple's app store approval tactics...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Can you stop repeating this ridiculously mistaken idea that only Steve Jobs has some problem with pr0n please? It's not.

        First content rule of the Android Market Developer Program:

        "Sexually Explicit Material: We don't allow content that contains nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material. "

        1. Levente Szileszky

          RE: Porn

          It's one thing that you are obviously clueless about the porn reference - hey, clueless people are always the most opinionated - but can you, please, stop spreading your ignorant nonsense about he's not having an issue with porn?

          It's a direct quote from the Puritan-in-Chief:

          "Freedom from porn. Yep, freedom. The times they are a changin', and some traditional PC folks feel like their world is slipping away. It is."

          Though it's more than a year old story it's never too late for you to to catch up:

          Yeah, I know, you feel stupid about now - sorry, it wasn't me...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            No I don't feel stupid. You need to take a break mate. Go outside and get some fresh air.

            So what that he wrote that in an e-mail to some journalist (and you should really read more reputable sources than Gawker media, that's almost like quoting the News of the (IT) World).

            None of that changes what I said, you can't have porn apps on Amazon's, Google's and Blackberry's app store either. It's in all of their agreements.

            Does that make them all Puritans-in-Chief?

            Maybe some Gawker reporter should have an e-mail exchange with them to make sure. Oh wait, none of them reply to e-mails personally, only SJ does.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What about it? @Levente

        Have you looked at Amazon's app store approval tactics?

        Freedom from Porn? LOL good luck getting your porn apps in Amazon's store, or Google's Android Market for that matter. Newsflash for you: both (and others) have content policies prohibiting them.

        You clearly have some sort of personal issue against Steve Jobs and Apple which is not letting you see things clearly. Maybe you should read up on the subject instead of posting your opinions as being some sort of facts.

        1. Levente Szileszky

          RE: What about...

          ...what? Amazon just launched their store, which part of this you cannot read? Process and Content Guidelines

          Oh wait, I see what do you mean - you like this style of publishing information more:

          Yes, you see it correctly: you cannot even read the second one without already being a developer which comes with a fee.

          There goes your claim, the usual Apple way...

          Speaking of Amazon's app store: last time I checked Apple immediately sued Amazon, the world and their dogs for using "app store" which is probably the most arrogant dick move, considering the term 'app store' is as common as it can be, nobody gets a hold on it in any sane legal system.

          FYI since you are obviously handicapped for this conversation: "Freedom from Porn" is a QUOTE from an email the Puritan-in-Chief wrote himself back in one of his drug-ridden overnight email-back-and-forth-argue-about-your-BS-business-ethics sessions - for your convenience I include the link to the original story:

          Of course, if you you would know about it, along with all the disgusting tactics Jobs/Apple use to smear and kill competitors, to protect their monopolistic little walled garden/turf, you wouldn't end up posting your clueless adhom garbage, I know, I know, apology accepted.

          To use a quote that I am sure you will recognize immediately: "Maybe you should read up on the subject instead of posting your opinions as being some sort of facts."

          How fitting...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            What about indeed @Levente

            Well well, interesting you choose not not commented on the actual issues you have with Apple's approval tactics - mentioned in your original post - but on how you (can't) access the review policy instead. Don't worry, after reading Apparatus's developer experiences in the Amazon store [1] I can safely say Apple's app store is a better place than that.

            As for SJ's e-mail I'm not sure who was more "drug-ridden", him or that reporter. I still don't see what issue you can have with this, since all the other relevant app stores also forbid pornography.

            Regarding the the "dick move" of trademarking app store and suing Amazon, well Amazon also had their giant "dick move" of making Apple licence Amazon's 1-Click(tm) patent and trademark back in 2000. [2] Seems perfectly fitting that Apple replied in kind now.

            The rest of your issues are purely unsubstantiated drivel so I'll leave it at this.



  7. Joey

    Patent sense

    The trouble is, if you don't protect your patents like this, somebody else will claim them and if you have not challenged their use, you are on shaky ground thereafter. Much as I hate to see the legal leeches cleaning has to be done.

    1. Purple People Eater

      Patent (non)sense

      Are you thinking of trademarks here? I'm fairly sure it doesn't apply to patents, or ambushes by patent trolls would be much less worrisome.

  8. Nya
    Thumb Down

    Utter bollocks!

    This patent is utter bollocks though. It pretty much also covers every hyperlink in everything it's so vague. Really goes to show what utter cess pool the US patent system is.

    The US patent system needs nuking and everything resubmitting to be void of vague waffle which low life lawyers are using for the patent trolls.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Someone didn't read the patent

      Before spouting off nonsense. It has nothing to do with hyperlinks. The closest it comes to is Lotus Agenda, but even in that there are glaring differences (such as the UI part)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did anyone look at the patents?

    I took a quick look at the patents, the first seemed to be: using parser to find some data and presenting UI options to the user, the example was some text with a phone number in it.

    I didn't read the whole thing, so maybe there is something in there that makes it unique rather than being blatantly obvious.

    Did anyone see anything non-obvious about the patents in this suit?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Apple lost a recent case which ruled they have infringed on S3 patents, S3 is now 100% owned by HTC.

    Are apple going to have their product banned?

  11. Sir Bob


    This isn't about a daft patent system. This is about a couple of stupidly rich American corporations being allowed to stiffly roger every consumer on the face of planet Earth. My arse is feeling pretty sore at the moment.

    This bollocks is begging for governmental antitrust intervention or one of those massively successful Facebook campaigns.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear AC at 16:49

    No :-)

    As far as I can make out it's slightly clever OLE

    Given this is 2011 and an email has a @ in it hardly unusual, surprise or patentable

    Watch you don't click on a link in a word doc or pdf Apple will be around for the cash :-)


  13. Zap

    not in user's interest

    Apple has always been a niche player, it makes things easy and charges you the earth for doing so, it used proprietary kit and software to maintain it ridiculous prices.

    Having features in the phone but disabling them was not in the user's interest it was done to make more profit.

    This ruling is not in user's interest and it is not an Apple invented technology.

    It reminds me of one of the early Apple legal cases in the 1980's that they lost.

    They tried to prevent Microsoft using icons and windows, claiming the it was an Apple innovation. Of course it was not, it was invented at Xerox Parc.

    Apple is simply using the courts to try and prevent fair competition.

  14. Tom 7 Silver badge

    The worlds daftest patent system - so far

    Apparently Apple have just received a patent for screen flipping when your phone is rotated - only 10 years after it first showed up on the iPaq - thats Compaq by the way unless Apple have now patented 'i...'

  15. b166er


    The whole pr0n thing is about getting the female (I know many females like pr0n, but I think they consider their kids' access to it) market.

    Do you think for one moment that any of these guys want to prevent pr0n on their platforms?

    Patents suck, they're for unimaginative lazy people who wish to sit on their haunches.

    Just be the best at what you do.

  16. NoneSuch

    HTC Will Survive...

    Even if US sales are stopped, HTC is an international corporation and will survive. That will leave Americans with the difficult choice between the Windows Phone or Apple iPhone. However will they be able to choose between those two winners.

    Sent from my HTC Incredible S

  17. Assimilated

    A Truely Horrible Company

    As a totally p!ssed off Apple customer, it's nice to see the public tide turning against them. I've been totally sick of them for a couple years. They treat their customers like crap, release products onto the market that aren't ready or just plain just don't work and to take the biscuit by refusing to adopt European Law on standard micro USB power adapters by claiming that their iPhone is a music player, not a phone! Scumbags.

    At least with Microsoft, I've found that they are genuinely decent to deal with whereas Apple refuse to even support the £650GBP iPhone that I purchased in New Zealand when I broke my old phone.

    I love my new Android Galaxy SII, no doubt Apple will claim that Samsung infringed it's IP by producing a music player that can also make phone calls. Tossers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Products that aren't ready? I hardly think Apple is an example of that, what about products like the Motorola Xoom where the SD card slot doesn't even work? Or several Android phones where the GPS doesn't work very well, or the Wifi, etc until later firmware releases...

      As for the microUSB, since Apple can't drop their existing connector - too many accessories out there - they would need to add one more hole to gather dust.. What for? You can get an iPod cable almost anywhere these days.

      Onto Microsoft, I can't understand your claim since Microsoft could not care less about your phone, it's whoever manufactures it (HTC, etc) that supports it. Apple does support iPhones anywhere in the world, *if* they are unlocked. I've had a friend who got his (officially unlocked) US iPhone 4 repaired here without even a blink.

      Finally yes, I could tell you' were a fandroid even before you even said you loved your Galaxy SII. Make sure to give it flowers, oh and take really nice care of that screen, the phone will be a total loss if you crack it. With Apple you could just pay the fixed "repair" cost of £139 and get a new phone.

  18. KjetilS

    HTC *may* be in violation, but...

    If I can trust the commenters at Ars Technica, then these are the two patents in question:

    I am pretty sure I've seen several phones with the same feature as was mentioned in patent #1, (both smartphones and "regular") so there may be a case for invalidating that patent, depending on when it was first seen in a phone.

    After reading the abstract of #2, it strikes me that this *must* have been done before 2002. It sounds (to me) like a quite trivial solution to a common problem. I'm guessing this patent may be even easier to invalidate.

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