Sunday, September 11, 2011

Updated battlemap/slideshow: Apple v. HTC and S3 Graphics

With all that's going on, I don't always find the time to update my battlemaps (which always include slideshows and detailed reference lists) immediately after a new filing or other development in a dispute. But I try to update them reasonably frequently.

Having reported on HTC's very recent assertion against Apple of nine patents previously held by Google and analyzed the ITC decision to review the initial determination on HTC subsidiary-to-be S3 Graphics' complaint against Apple, I have now also updated the battlemap covering Apple's dispute with HTC and S3G:


After the first slide, which shows the current state of the battlefield, there are 22 slides that show how this conflict escalated since Apple's original filing in March 2010. After the slideshow, there are detailed reference lists (all the lawsuits, all the courts, all the patents, all the accused products).

The three patents asserted in HTC's second ITC complaint prior to this week's amendment

When HTC filed its second ITC complaint (and a companion federal lawsuit in Delaware) against Apple in mid-August, I didn't blog about it right away. So I'd like to list the three patents asserted in that complaint (and, still, in the amended complaint):

  • U.S. Patent No. 7,765,414 on a "circuit and operating method for integrated interface of PDA and wireless communication system", granted in July 2010 to HTC on an August 2007 patent application filed by HTC

  • U.S. Patent No. 7,672,219 on "multipoint-to-point communication using orthogonal frequency division multiplexing", granted in March 2010 to ADC Telecommunications on a February 2007 patent application, assigned to HTC in April 2011

  • U.S. Patent No. 7,417,944 on a "method for orderwire modulation", granted in August 2008 to ADC Telecommunications on a June 2007 patent application, assigned to HTC in April 2011

The message HTC was sending to Apple at the time was: "watch out, we keep obtaining patents of our own that may be relevant to you, such as the first one in the list above, and additionally, we buy up patents from other companies, such as ADC Telecommunications". In other words, HTC wanted to show a certain element of unpredictability. Here's a report on the ADC deal and a Wikipedia entry related to that company.

The problem with those two ADC patents is that, according to HTC, they're essential to the IEEE 802.11 wireless networking standard. The use of standards-essential patents is a dangerous path as I explained in connection with counterclaims Apple brought against Samsung.

Regardless of that, there's no doubt that HTC is trying very hard to fight back against Apple. For a long time, the number of patents asserted by Apple against HTC far exceeded that of the patents HTC and S3 Graphics asserted against Apple. Now HTC is trying to catch up with Google's help. It's a safe bet that we'll see significant escalation in this dispute during the coming months.

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