Manufacturers

BBC: Apple patent case 'could affect all android phones'

Apple’s legal action against HTC may have “wider implications” for all phone makers using Google’s Android operating system, an analyst has warned.

Ian Fogg of Forrester Research said that the case against HTC, in which Apple alleges infringement of 20 of its patents, could be the first of many.

Although Apple has not named Google in the suit, many of the named patents relate to operating systemprocesses.
Wider implications

HTC was the first manufacturer to use Android in its phones and is also the maker of Google’s own brand Nexus One handset.

Some have speculated that Apple – which makes the popular iPhone – are attacking Google “by proxy” by filing the case against HTC.

“I think this is kind of an indirect lawsuit against Google,” analyst Shaw Wu of Kaufman Brothers told Reuters.

Others have said that Apple’s action may be an opening salvo against Google.

“Simply because Apple has focused on HTC now doesn’t mean it won’t take action against other manufacturers later,” Mr Fogg told BBC News.

“[This case] could have implications for all other phone manufacturers which have just announced their phones at Mobile World Congress.”

Mobile World Congress is a showcase for the phone industry, held every February in Barcelona, Spain.

Manufactures including Sony Ericcson, LG, Samsung and HTC announced new handsets running Android at the show.

“2010 is going to be the year of Android,” said Mr Fogg.

Apple announced the legal action against HTC on 2 March.

Legal web

In a statement Apple boss Steve Jobs said: “We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it.

“We’ve decided to do something about it.”

The Californian firm allege that HTC have infringed 20 patents owned by Apple that are used in the iPhone.

Apple is seeking an injunction which would effectively bar HTC from selling phones that use the disputed technology in the US.

The legal action has been filed with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) and a district court in Delaware.

HTC has said it is unable to comment on the case until it has had a chance to assess the validity of the claims.

It is the latest in a series of legal wrangles involving Apple.

Finnish phone giant Nokia sued Apple for patent infringement in October 2009, alleging it had stolen patented technology.

In response, Apple countersued in December 2009, followed by a second round of legal action from Nokia.

Apple is also being investigated by the ITC following a complaint by camera manufacturer Kodak. The firm allege that the iPhone uses technology for previewing pictures that infringe Kodak patents.

BBC

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