HTC Patents Valid – The News Apple Did Not Want to Hear
If you’ve been following the (occasionally) exciting world of mobile giant court drama, you already know about Apple’s much-contested patents which essentially made many elements of most phones illegal. Among the patents they attempted to file was the shape of their iPhone which, as we all know, is a simple rectangular device with rounded corners. Sound familiar? It should, since virtually every other phone on the market has a similar shape. A very vocal and large number of consumers has been put off and upset by Apple’s filings, which appear too many as the beginnings of a monopoly.
In a stroke of what many are calling poetic-justice brilliance, Taiwan-based mobile giant HTC holds a series of patents on something which might just hold the key to the success of Apple’s latest darling, the iPhone 5 – LTE technology. After their defeat over other patent infringements, this win must feel amazing for HTC, since if might give them a significant amount of control over one of their biggest rivals.
Without getting into all the technological information that, in all honesty, we’re not sure we understand in the first place, LTE technology is what allows us to enjoy the super-fast speeds on 4G devices. It’s the future of mobile web activity, and available in nearly every major market on the planet.
Consumers in some areas have been waiting years for 4G LTE, as it allows for faster web surfing, faster downloading and an all-around better mobile web experience. If HTC successfully “owns” the technology behind this customer-demanded feature, the future of many companies, Apple included, would become very shaky indeed.
What the HTC Patents May Mean
If a judge finds that HTC is in the clear regarding LTE technology, any other company whose devices use the technology would be infringing upon HTC’s patents. They would be within their legal rights to sue, ban sales and block shipments.
One of the most highly anticipated devices to hit the market in the middle of this court battle is Apple’s new iPhone 5. A story unto itself, the iPhone 5 has been blasted by critics for delivering little else in the way of new-ness except (dramatic pause) – LTE capabilities.
A Possible Scenario
Imagine the hottest phone on the market (or something like that) blocked at customs, unable to get into the very countries where it’s already been pre-ordered by customers. Not a pretty picture, but that’s precisely what could happen if the HTC patents go into effect.
Like virtually all court proceedings, we’re sure this one will be filled with counter-suits and drag on endlessly. However, the outcome will be vital for the health of at two of the largest smartphone companies in the business, and that translates into importance for consumers as well.
There’s no official verdict as of yet on what will be affected, when or how much, although a judge has said that HTC patents will likely hold up. Bad news for Apple, although a less-than-charitable part of us can’t help but snicker and wonder how the iPhone manufacturer is enjoying the taste of their own medicine.
Author: Darren Wall has written about all aspects of mobile technology from smartphones, tablets, Apps, new technologies and games for many well known blogs. You can follow his regulsr Twitterings at @prepayasyougo