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Wednesday06 July 2022

Apple's LTE Sporting iPhone 5 Might Have A Rough Time Thanks to Complaints from HTC and Samsung


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Apple’s iPhone 5 should launch tomorrow, but it might be a launch that is short lived if Samsung and HTC have anything to say about it. Both companies plan to aggressively pursue Apple over the use of Long Term Evolution (LTE) in their products HTC already has a complaint into the ITC.  To make matters worse for Apple (who is trying the invalidation tactic now) Judge Thomas Pender has ruled that HTC’s patents are most likely valid saying “Clear and convincing means something to me. I have to be pretty darn certain a U.S. patent is invalid”. Apple has also tried to claim that HTC only bought the patents to sue Apple. Judge Pender was quick with the reply: “I don't care if they bought these patents to sue you or not. They are a property right”.

It seems that Apple is now in the same situation they have put other companies in before. Their claims of invalidity are not working nor are claims of abuse. The upshot of this is that the complaint will likely stand and the ITC will need to make a decision on what to do about it. HTC is, of course, requesting an import ban on all Apple products that use LTE in the US. This request is not unexpected after all that is what Apple typically asks for from the ITC and from the courts that it drags competitors into. It was not that long ago that Apple managed to get HTC phones held up during a crucial launch cycle due to a complaint.

Now Apple is in an interesting position. They have an open patent claim from Motorola (non-FRAND), a complaint that is likely to stand from HTC over LTE and one that is sure to hit from Samsung over the same technology. We know that Apple is worried simply because they have been buying up LTE patents and even managed to file a few of their own. We looked over a few of them and do not think that they will be able to protect Apple from the claims that HTC and Samsung can bring with their patents for the same technology and they still do not have anything for Motorola’s own complaint with the ITC that is still open.  What makes this interesting is that LTE is not yet a standards essentials patent like those for 3G were. It means that FRAND does not apply here.

In the meantime Apple is working very hard to separate from Samsung including shifting to Elpid/Micron as their primary memory supplier and also working to get preferred manufacturing space with TSMC for their next generation SoC. This new processor could be built on a 20nm process if the going rumors are true. Things are going to be very different for Apple for the next 6-10 months we do expect the iPhone 5 to sell well simply because many people will buy it just because it is an iPhone. However we also expect to see investors dump a significant amount of stock after the actual launch. They have been buying it up lately which drives up the price per share. After the even they will be looking to sell it off in the same way they did after the launch of the iPhone 4 and 4s. This sell trend may continue depending on how quickly Samsung, HTC and Motorola can push their complaints through the ITC and what the outcome of Samsung’s post-verdict motions are. If they favor Samsung it could put a significant amount of worry into investors who may end up trying to cash out some of their stock to get the best value for it.

Apple’s litigation over innovation method of competing is slowing as more information about their MO of taking other people's trademarks, designs and technology surfaces (The Apple logo comes from Apple Corp, iOS and iPhone were from Cisco etc...). Even their “victory” over Samsung in the US is coming apart at the seams now. The Jury Foreman has made it very clear that he ignored the instructions completely and went in wanting to punish Samsung. We are actually surprised he was on the jury as he has a patent of his own that he had to defend against prior art. On the other hand Apple simply does not get what effect this sue-fest is having. They are even attempting to go after a grocery store for copyright infringement claiming that the Polish company intended to confuse consumers by stealing their logo and brand icons. Now the truly Apple faithful will stick behind and defend Apple, but we have a feeling that the ordinary consumer might have a harder time believing Apple’s PR when you have things like this happening…

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Last modified on Tuesday, 11 September 2012 18:38

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