Monday, September 10, 2012

Apple and HTC confirm recent settlement talks, will continue discussions in the future

In a Friday filing that entered the public record today, Apple and HTC confirm to the ITC that they have had two recent settlement meetings, one during the week of August 13, 2012 and another more recent one. They have not reached a settlement but will continue to have such discussions in the future.

The report was filed in the enforcement proceeding in which the U.S. trade agency is evaluating whether or not HTC's new Android-based devices continue to infringe the "data tapping" patent over which Apple won an import ban in December that went into effect in April.

Here's the full text of the report:


Pursuant to the Procedural Schedule in this Enforcement Proceeding (Order No. 122), Complainant Apple Inc. ("Apple") and Respondents HTC Corporation and HTC America, Inc. ("HTC") submit this First Settlement Conference Joint Report.

The private parties are involved in multiple litigations and have conducted settlement negotiations. The private parties have met to discuss potential resolution of the different litigations, including this Enforcement Proceeding, including during the week of August 13, 2012 and also more recently. Persons with the requisite settlement authority participated for each party. While the private parties did not reach a settlement, there is an understanding that the private parties will continue settlement discussions in the future. The private parties have made good-faith efforts to resolve this Enforcement Proceeding and will continue to do so.

The above report could also be paraphrased like this: "Dear Judge, you told us to hold settlement talks and as you can see, we both complied, and by the way, neither of us wants to accept the blame for the fact that this dispute isn't ripe for a settlement."

It's worth noting in this context that HTC chairperson Cher Wang is quoted in various Taiwanese media as expressing confidence in her company's ability to win this patent fight and as saying that she isn't interested in settling with Apple at this point. And I believe Apple doesn't want to settle either -- it just doesn't talk about it publicly.

Apple and HTC may have to meet again in about a week. The United States District Court for the District of Delaware originally ordered the parties to hold court-moderated settlement talks on August 28 but postponed this to September 19, 2012. Apple and HTC later proposed a stay of all proceedings including the envisioned settlement meeting while sorting out whether HTC has standing to assert certain patents it acquired from Google, but the court denied that motion.

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