Google is helping HTC attack Apple in court by furnishing mobile technology patents that take aim at the iPhone functionality. The move shows Google is defending its partners.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has said it would
come to the defense of its OEM partners as they battle Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL),
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and other litigants in court over Android. The
operating system provider has apparently backed up its talk.
Google has sold nine patents to HTC to
sue Apple for patent infringement, with the Taiwanese phone maker amending its
existing complaint with the International Trade Commission and Delaware court
against Apple over three patent infringements. HTC also filed an additional
case in Delaware alleging patent infringement by Apple iOS devices and Mac
computers, according to Bloomberg
"HTC will continue to protect its
patented inventions against infringement from Apple until such infringement
stops," Grace Lei, HTC's general counsel, said in a statement.
The latest is a new legal salvo in a
case that began when Apple sued HTC for patent infringement more than a year
ago for allegedly producing Android handsets that resemble the popular iPhone.
The ITC sided with Apple in July on two of its complaints versus HTC, which
could put a crimp in the company's plans to sell Android phones.
said Google picked up the patents less than a year ago from Motorola, whose
phone subsidiary it is trying to acquire for additional patent protection,
Openwave Systems and Palm, now owned by Hewlett-Packard.
HTC said it paid for the patents
, which include
those for a "zoomed display of characters entered from a telephone keypad"
from Openwave, a "technique allowing a status bar user response on a
portable device graphic user interface" from Palm, as well as a Motorola
technique for upgrading radio modem application software over the air.
Google declined to comment on the
patent sale to its partner, though legal protection was one of the selling
points around its $12.5 billion purchase bid for Android OEM Motorola Mobility
(NYSE:MMI), which commands over 17,000 patents, with 7,500 more pending
Now Google is flexing its muscles to
help OEMs that champion smartphones and tablets based on its open-source
"Google knows that HTC is under
tremendous legal pressure from Apple and clearly on the losing track. HTC is
the first Android device maker sued by Apple, so that dispute is at the most
advanced stage, and since HTC's own patent portfolio is weak, it has so far
lacked the leverage to force Apple into a cross-license agreement. The
possibility of HTC being defeated must have scared Google," wrote FOSS Patents and IP expert Florian Mueller on Google+
Mueller also said Google's intervention
in this case increases the likelihood of direct litigation by Apple against
The search engine provider is currently
battling Oracle in court for using Java technology in Android without procuring