ITC to investigate Apple over HTC's patent complaints

Tech Armageddon continues, and now the ITC (International Trade Commission) will be launching an investigation against Apple Computer Corp. over disputes brought by HTC earlier this year.  TechCrunch reports (by way of BusinessWeek) a basic description of the patents in question as:

The patents in the ITC case relate to an interface that lets the user add identifiers such as .com or .org; an interface that enlarges characters being typed; a way to display information on mobile devices; and status bars that let a user check phone calls, text messages or calendar events.

The investigation itself goes well beyond the smartphone arena -- the ITC states it will cover "computers, tablet computers, and smartphones."  It's worth noting that some of the patents in question were granted to HTC by Google, who so far has stayed out of the current tech courtroom drama it's OEM's are involved in. 

As always, it's the consumer who will be the biggest loser here.  Licensing agreements will be worked out, and that cost will be funneled down to all of us.  It's a war with no winners.

Source: ITC; via Tech Crunch

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Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • If this investigation, as well as the suits brought by VIA and Samsung curb Apple's reckless behavior of suing any and all competitors, BRING IT ON! I wont mind ONE BIT paying higher prices if it means that Apple can be put in their place! GO HTC!!!
  • Yeah! I'll happily pay more for all those Apple products I buy... :D
  • I agree, it may be painful but it has to be done. Somebody has to pound some sense into Apple. I disagree with the final paragraph in the article too. The consumer does not always end up the biggest loser in these suits. Most of the time this ends up with cross licensing which reduces cost for all parties. Look back over the history of this kind of suit. Very very few of these end up with huge sums out of one pocket into another.
  • Sorry that is about the most non-emotional response I can make. Now watch TIPB go nuts in the next few hours.
  • Cross-license agreements are not bad for consumers. On the contrary, they are the way that innovation has proliferated in the tech industry for decades. The problems we are seeing now in the Apple-HTC wars are due to one or more parties refusing to cross-license patents. We need more licensing and less litigation.
  • We had pretty much the exact same response. That does raise the question, though: why haven't the Android makers cross-licensed with Microsoft rather than paying license fees?
  • Because for the most part Microsoft already has all the patents and doesnt need the Android OEMs patents. People scoff at Microsoft, but fail to realise how much value there was, and still is, in Windows mobile.
  • The best outcome would be cross-licensing agreements that basically make the whole issue go away without any additional costs. That's really what we all want: for Apple to realize that there's as much potentially infringing tech in their stuff as there is in Android.
  • Glad to see HTC on the offensive. Maybe this will keep Apple in the work place and out of the court room.
  • I love how on androidcentral it reads, "ITC to investigate Apple...", while on appleinsider it reads, "ITC to investigave latest HTC complaint..." haha.
  • Actually, there are winners here. THE BLOODSUCKING LAWYERS!
  • Another reason why I can't stand Apple.. They are getting their Ass kicked by Android and all the phones that run it that they are loosing market share now. Looking forward to "Ice Creme" so it's even more reason why people abandon Apple..
  • iCrap finally, google standing behind htc, samsung get support from verizon which may realized that lost control and let iCrap do whatever it like with their company. Verizon the biggest and so naive selling the crap devices from iCrap
  • When iOS 5 comes out I'm sure there will be many law suits
  • iOS 5 is based totally on Android and Blackberry OS. When it drops hopefully everybody will come out against Apple and drive it in to them that they can no longer push other companies around.
  • Sight, if business could just get back to innovate instead of crying foul over improvements they did not think of. All this companies are great, and they give us a choice. Apple is great for improving on how MP3 players should look/work, same as their phones, tablets, etc(this applies to HTC, Sammy, Moto, LG, list goes on, but not Microsoft, their Zunes are still horribad :P ). But they were never the first to come up with that idea. And that's what drove other companies to improve on that. Unless any of them happen to be cavemen and came up with the wheel or fire, all we are doing is an improvement of something already done. Really wish engineers and designers were the ones battle it out instead of lawers :(
  • Actually the Zune HD is really a pretty good device. Unfortunately the iPod Touch pretty much dominates the market.
  • First and foremost Apple has brought this on themselves. They went from innovating to litigating and in doing so have shown themselves to be nothing more than billion dollar bullies crying over lost market share to superior products.