HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone maker, vowed to “fully defend itself” when Apple sued for patent infringement in March. Now the maker of Google’s Nexus One smartphone has done so. It countersued Apple on Wednesday, filing a complaint with the US International Trade Commission alleging that Apple has violated five of its patents pertaining to mobile phones.
Just as Apple did for HTC products, HTC has asked the court for an injunction that would bar sales of the allegedly infringing products – in this case iPhones, iPads and iPods – in the US.
These types of tit-for-tat lawsuits are common in patent disputes as each side jockeys for position. Intellectual property lawsuits have flown both ways between Apple and Nokia and between Apple and Elan Microelectronics, a Taiwanese touchscreen maker.
The reality is that few of these cases ever reach a formal conclusion where products are actually barred from sale. The smart money is on a settlement and a cross-licensing of each other’s patents somewhere down the road – with the only questions being who pays whom, and how much.