Apple and HTC end patent lawsuits after reaching global settlement

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 November, 2012, 4:27am

Taiwan's leading smartphone maker HTC yesterday said it has reached a global settlement with technology giant Apple, bringing an end to all outstanding litigation between the two companies.

The deal includes a 10-year licensing agreement over patents, HTC said in a statement.

"HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation," HTC chief executive Peter Chou said.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook said: "We are glad to have reached a settlement with HTC."

"We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation."

HTC and Apple were locked in more than 20 cases including some pending the ruling of the International Trade Commission of the United States, according to an HTC official.

Technology giants have taken to routinely pounding one another with patent lawsuits. Apple has accused HTC and other smartphone makers using Google's Android mobile operating system of infringing on Apple-held patents.

"This is definitely a positive element to HTC, especially when it is being knocked by poor sales," said Mars Hsu of Grand Cathay Securities.

"Unlike the lawsuits between Apple and Samsung focusing on the alleged infringement of iPhone outlook, the suits with HTC are more related to alleged technology infringements," he said.

Apple won an order last December from the International Trade Commission, which issued a "limited exclusion order" directing that HTC stop bringing offending smartphones into the US effective on April 19.

In May, US mobile carrier Sprint said it had to delay the introduction of an Android smartphone from HTC after the devices were blocked by US customs in the first enforcement of a win in an Apple trade complaint.

HTC's net profit in the three months to September tumbled 79.1 per cent from a year ago to NT$3.9 billion (HK$1.03 billion), down from NT$18.64 billion.

Revenues totalled NT$70.2 billion, which marked a sharp decline of 48 per cent from a year ago when they were NT$135.82 billion.

In the latest of the lawsuits between the two firms, HTC in July said it was suing Apple in a court in Florida but declined to elaborate as the case had entered formal litigation proceedings.

According to the Taipei-based Apple Daily newspaper, HTC claimed in the suit that Apple's MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iPhone have infringed on two patents it acquired from Hewlett-Packard last year related to computer networks.