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Taiwan: Why is Apple sueing HTC?

iPhone compared to HTC S620 - photo by Gadgetdude on Flickr (cc)

iPhone compared to HTC S620 – photo by Gadgetdude on Flickr (cc)

On March 2, 2010, Apple Inc. filed a lawsuit against HTC for infringing on 20 Apple patents related to the iPhone's user interface. The company is a Taiwan-based manufacturer of smartphones and in 2009 it began to shift its focus away from Windows Mobile devices, to devices based on the Android operating system, which is the OS for Google phone. The topic climbed quickly on twitter trend and has become one of the most discussed issue amongst Taiwanese netizens, geeks, and tech-lovers.

Where's the ground for infringement?

Dancing Hear t(舞動的心) disagrees with Apple's move:

多點觸控嗎?? 兩指放大縮小嗎?
現在不是很多手機都有這功能了嗎?
看來mac還是會怕,會怕才會告
這個舉動,讓我覺的傳說中的 iphone 4G,應該是玩不出什麼新把戲了

……Multi-touch feature?? Two finger control for zoom-in and zoom-out? Aren't they common functions for cellphones today? It seems that Mac(Apple) is worried, so worried that it has to file the lawsuit. And this action make me believe that the mythical iPhone 4G won't have any new feature.

0926252726 wonders why HTC is targeted at:

為何不告同樣用 Android想借此翻身的moto
還有跟美國人友好的三星
不知為何美國跟南韓的互動關係跟作為
讓人覺得很噁心

Why doesn't Apple sue moto. It also tries to rescue its business with Android OS.
And why not US buddy Samsung?
US and South Korea's interaction make me sick.

adigolee also questions the legitimacy of this lawsuit:

UI 哪裡像 iphone? Nexus one 不是原生的 Android 嗎? 甘 HTC 啥事?
如果真的是因為兩指放大的話, 的確是可以告很多廠商. 太多人學這個功能了….
癮科技的文章 跑 Windows 7 的 iPad?嗯!大家心照不宣… 不知道這個 Apple 告不告….

Is there anything in common between HTC's UI and iPhone? Isn't Nexus One the original Android platform? It has nothing to do with HTC?
If it is really the two finger zooming function, Apple can sue many companies, because it has been imitated by too many already…
See this article from Engadget Chinese, a iPad running on Windows 7! see that?… I wonder if Apple would sue this….

Google's role

IriShcAFe predicts that Google is about to enter the fight:

整個事件基本上是針對Google Android來的,20項裡面多半是有關軟體的部分
只能說美國專利局腦殘的把那些範圍過於廣泛的專利發給了Apple.
這次的案件Google很有可能會在背後幫HTC,或是乾脆加入HTC一起跟Apple槓上
現在Android開始搶占智慧手機市占率,
也大概是為甚麼Google老闆年前從Apple的執行會上卸職的原因之一吧.
反正好戲要上演了,大家快去搬椅子買零食吧

The whole issue is coming toward Google Android, the 20 patents are mostly about software.
I can only say that the US's patent and trademark office is stupid enough to authorize Apple these broadly used patents.
Google would probably backup HTC in this case, or it might consider join hand with HTC openly to fight against Apple.
Now Android is grabbing its hold in smart phone's market, and this is probably the reason why Google's boss left his position in Apple's Executive Committee last year.
Anyway, the show is on, get your chair and popcorn ready!

Corporate politics

JasonQ regards the case a typical legal drama:

小弟認為, 應該不是真的有侵害到專利問題… 現在上演的, 應該是很普便的用專利訴訟來打壓敵對陣營產品的戲碼….
運用大量的侵權官司, 拖延敵對陣營產品上市時間, 並藉此限制對手產品的銷售以及開發…
等到3 ~ 5年後, 就算法院宣判沒有造成侵權問題, 敵對陣營也很難追趕上自家產品的開發以及市場佔有率….

I think it is not a real patent infringement problem… What is playing now is the the usual drama of one company uses patent lawsuit to repress its enemy…
Using infringement lawsuits to delay enemy company's new products from entering the market, and set restriction for their sale and development…
After 3~5 years, even though the court says there's no infringement problem, the enemy will never be able to catch up or compete with its innovation and market share…

Xiao Sheng Sheng(小昇昇) also finds it an ordinary legal case.

我覺得大家好像把這件事情看的太嚴重了
在美國, 這種專利權大公司互相興訟的事情是希鬆平常的事
那個大公司身上沒背幾件專利官司
小公司還沒人要告勒
之前工研院不是也告三星在液晶電視上侵犯專利嗎
這是正常的商業競爭手段
htc養了一大堆的律師不是只負責吃飯的

I think you guys treat this case too seriously.
In US, this kind of patent lawsuit between big heads are common.
Every big company shoulders a number of patent lawsuits.
If the company is small, no one bothers to file the case.
Remember ITRI (Industrial Technology Research Institute of Taiwan, ROC) is also suing Samsung over LCD TV's patents?
This is a normal business competition strategy.
And HTC does not hire a bunch of lawyers for nothing.

2 comments

  • Preetam Rai

    Yes, it is common. If you guys remember Creative Labs successively sued Apple for some patents on hierarchically displaying a list of songs on a mp3 player screen.

  • […] topics from photos from a recent Tibet rally, a blog post about baseball, and a blog post about a lawsuit Apple filed against a Taiwanese-based company in regards to patent […]

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