Android Central

The confidential cross-licensing agreement between HTC and Apple that ended hostilities between the companies became a little less confidential today. A redacted version of the agreement has been made part of the public record by Samsung ahead of today's patent trial hearing in California. As you may remember, Samsung got a look at details of the HTC settlement as part of its separate courtroom battle against Apple.

As you might expect, the 140 pages of redacted documents blank out the juicier details. But according to analysis of the docs by AllThingsD's Ina Fried, Apple and HTC both get non-exclusive licenses to some of each others' patents, as was indicated in the original joint press release. Notably excluded, apparently, are Apple's design patents, although the company has insisted on many occasions that it would not license these. Also excluded are nine redacted HTC patents.

Apple has also agreed not to sue HTC over certain products, it is reported, but the names of these are redacted in today's documents.

The agreement also does not cover any HTC product deemed to be a "clone" of an Apple device (that is to say anything that looks like an iPhone). An arbitration process is detailed in the documents, in the event that such a scenario emerges.

So there's nothing too surprising at first glance -- the agreement seems to be stacked in Apple's favor, but we don't think there was really any doubt as to who was wearing the pants in this particular legal settlement.

If you're in the mood to get stuck into a stack of legalese and black ink, you can find the partially-blanked-out settlement over at the source link. 

Source: AllThingsD

 
There are 7 comments

overfloater says:

"The agreement also does not cover any HTC product deemed to be a "clone" of an Apple device (that is to say anything that looks like an iPhone)."

And therein, Apple leaves itself an absurdly broad get-out-of-jail-free card.

mwara244 says:

Makes me wonder what type of patents of HTC apple has access too, like the software skin in sense that is integrated into android? So in the future when Apple gets sued for copying android software they can say they had access to a piece of software from htc.

Yeah, but HTC would not be able to re-license that software to anyone else. This deal benefits only HTC.

joba78 says:

I pray HTC understands that Apple now gets to peek at all their upcoming hardware before it's released. And, that Apple still holds all the cards and could/will still sue them on design related patents.

This agreement sounds like a time-based necessity for HTC. With a less than rosy business outlook, it also seems like desperation.

JHBThree says:

As far as I know, HTC has never been sued using apples design patents.

Regardless, is doesn't mean that HTC will have to show products ahead of time. All it means is that htc will be able to use certain features in their software. The document is very specific with what is allowed, so there will be no ambiguity that HTC could fall into.

icebike says:

You guys are missing the point here. This whole thing isn't about Apple and HTC.

Its about Samsung and Apple.

Per PJ:
Apple did not license its design patents.
But the rest of Apple's patents are licensed, which ought to matter in the Apple v. Samsung injunction analysis.

As she stated a few days ago, when you license technology patents, you can't get an injunction to prevent import.

Quote PJ: "As you just saw in the Microsoft v. Motorola case in Seattle, if money can make you whole, you normally can't get an injunction."

If Apple licensed any of the technology and UI patents to HTC (and it appears they licensed ALL of them to HTC) then they can at best expect to get license fees from Samsung, (probably no more than they are getting from HTC), but not an injunction.

Samsung beat the rap about cloning the Ipad. The Jury found that samsung did not copy the ipad. (Which was a hoot because this is exactly opposite of what Judge had publicly stated before the trial began).

Samsung was found to have copied some software patents and UI elements. But it turns out they licensed all of these to HTC.

So the injunction is likely never going to happen now, and we are just down to haggling over the money.

Gearu says:

So the documents tell us a whole lot of nothing?