HTC Uses Google-Motorola Patents to Sue Apple

Posted by at 3:29 pm on September 7, 2011

HTC stepped up its counters to Apple’s lawsuits by suing Apple again in a Delaware court. The claim alleges violation of four patents that Google had transferred to HTC’s ownership just days earlier, on September 1. The four had originally been granted to Motorola and were the offshoot of the $12.5 billion merger, although Google hasn’t closed the deal and would have had to get a separate, voluntary handover.

The Taiwan smartphone designer also altered its ITC dispute with Apple to take advantage of five patents also obtained from Google. Two of these were first owned by Palm before it joined HP, and three had been owned by frequent lawsuit filer Openwave.

HTC’s new case is likely intended to mitigate its loss to Apple at the ITC and the realization that it might see some of its products banned if it can’t win an appeal. Apple already has a second ITC dispute underway along with separate civil cases.

The new lawsuit underscores a turnaround in Google’s approach to patents. At first, it tried a purely defensive tone where it portrayed itself as a victim but appeared to be taking little action other than words. Without any direct profit from Android unless it completes its buyout of Motorola, Google can’t sue others for damages. Having its own patent portfolio at least gives it a defensive tool for partners and leverage to go on the attack, whether itself or through third parties.

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