ITC Finds HTC Not Guilty of Violating 8 of Apple’s Patents

Some people see the glass half-empty. Others see it half-full. The case of Apple v HTC over Android/Linux is 80% empty and on shaky ground IMHO.

Apple charged HTC with violating 10 patents and the initial decision is that 2 were infringed… Imagine a citizen claiming a neighbour stole his 10 Rolls-Royces and the police notice that the complainant only owned 2… That would result in charges of mischief against the complainant where I come from. The two remaining patents are really shaky and also at issue in Apple v Samsung.

I don’t see the ITC blocking importation due to such fuzzy patents and I expect HTC will get the patents re-examined or otherwise disembowelled to clear the air.

see US Patent 5,946,647

This is yet another software patent that should never have seen the light of day. It attempts to cover just about any general-purpose computer that interacts with data. What were the patent-examiners thinking? There’s even a flow-chart which looks like something I would teach in Grade 10 programming classes. System and Method for Performing an Action on a Structure in Computer-generated Data… sigh. Does anyone think there’s a valid, non-obvious patent in there?

see US Patent 6,343,263

Here’s another: Real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data. Oh, the horror! People have been doing that since when, 1969 when folks went to Moon and before when they were practising. The invention is supposed to be some kind of improvement over the 1960s modem by providing a layer of abstraction. Sounds like an idea to me, something not patentable.

If this is what Apple’s case rests upon, I expect HTC’s appeal will be a resounding success. I expect the minor victory Apple achieved was due to a snow job. Further review will be enlightening for the lawyers involved.

UPDATE There’s a more detailed analysis at DailyTech.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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4 Responses to ITC Finds HTC Not Guilty of Violating 8 of Apple’s Patents

  1. HTC recently bought S3 Graphics and Apple has been found to violate some S3 tablets…. Perhaps no cash is involved even if Apple wins something.

  2. Contrarian says:

    Sascha Segan thinks that HTC can settle with Apple, but for how much? It seems to me that having to pay Apple and Microsoft in order to use Android is not going to make Android use soar. OEMs might come to the obvious conclusion that paying Mirosoft for WP7 is a better idea than using something that they have to pay Apple, who is their main competitor, for.

    Microsoft has some blanket patent agreements with Apple as a result of the bailout a decade or so ago, IIRC, so maybe they are in a good position to make a deal with the phone OEMs.

    As to your words about SCO and copyright, where does that fit in? This is a patent issue.

  3. “Massive” and “Serious”? Nope.

    Tiny and trivial FUD. Since the “patents” are so widely violated, they are obviously overbroad. Indeed when the applications were made they did not even consider mobile applications. This is a case where something obvious to someone skilled in the art has snowed some lawyer. It will go away just like SCOG v World. Remember that one, when SCOG showed people “millions” of lines of copied code??? Turns out they did not even own the code. Apple certainly does not own these ideas which are as old as the networked computer.

    UPDATE

    see Will Apple’s Patent Attack Kill HTC? Of Course Not

    and Google’s Schmidt vows to defend HTC

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