Technology giant Apple has lost the lawsuit pertaining to the patent infringement by the smartphone maker HTC, at the High Court. The lawsuit comprised of 4 patent claims, including the iPhone’s “prize” slide-to-unlock patent and their ground breaking multi-touch system. This case was brought to British soil, where Justice Floyd ruled almost completely in favour of HTC. Intellectual property experts believe that this is likely to have an impact on on going disputes in Germany and the United States. The other patents in the case were about the way the iPhone manages photographs and the patent regarding the use of different character sets in text messaging which dates back to 1994.
The High Court ruling said that parts of the slide-to-unlock as well as multi-touch patents were too “obvious”. The Multi-touch patent was also found to be partly invalid and that HTC had infringed neither of the patents as claimed. Only the Apple’s photo management patent was found to be entirely valid, but Justice Floyd said HTC had not infringed it either.
A HTC spokesperson said that HTC is pleased with the ruling, which reinforces that Apple’s claims against them are without merit. Also, they are disappointed that Apple is still focussing on competition in the courtroom over competition in the marketplace.
Apple’s spokesman said that they welcome healthy competition based on original technology and that competitors shouldn’t steal Apple’s technology.
In regard to Apple’s on going lawsuits against Samsung and Motorola in Germany and Netherlands, they have succeeded in getting injunctions against both companies’ products in these countries on the basis of some of these patents. Apple also engaged in a series of suits and counter-law suits with Google’s manufacturing partners all over the world, under Steve Jobs, who believed Android was a shameless rip-off of the iOS. Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook stated that there seems little prospect of a truce in these cases.
Peter Bell, an intellectual property specialist at the law firm Stevens & Bolton, quoted that Apple seemed more likely to react to this new defeat by launching a counter-claim, rather than backing down. He believes that this is a consequence of the current thirst for patent litigation in the smartphone market.
Observers feel that this legal onslaught is causing a major hindrance to innovation in the smartphone market as most of the corporate energy is being focused on courtroom attack and defence instead of being focussed on product development.