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Google, T-Mobile urge ITC not to ban HTC Android hardware

updated 08:25 pm EDT, Fri October 7, 2011

Google and T-Mobile oppose Apple ban on ITC gear

Both Google and T-Mobile attempted to stave off a possible ITC ban on HTC devices Friday with responses to the ITC's requests for input on Apple's win in the trade dispute before a December 6 hearing. T-Mobile wanted to deny a ban regardless of whether or not the ruling upheld infringement since it saw the loss of HTC's hardware as irreplaceable. Android buyers tended just to look for other Android devices, and Apple's suggestions of device picks as workarounds were disingenuous: it simply wanted to shut down competition from Android and suggested everything else that wasn't a similar threat, T-Mobile said.

"Tellingly, not even Apple's own suggested substitutes for HTC Android smartphones include Android smartphones from other manufacturers," the carrier told the ITC. "Apple identified only alternative operating systems to Android, such as its own iOS for iPhone, BlackBerry OS, and Microsoft Windows."

HTC among Android producers had a unique relationship, the network went on. T-Mobile launched the first Android phone with the HTC-made G1 in October 2008 and has been the home for other official Google phones, such as the Nexus One and Nexus S. The Amaze 4G will be one of T-Mobile's most important devices for the holidays without the option of an iPhone.

Instead, T-Mobile suggested, it wanted four to six months of transition to wean off of any alleged infringing hardware. Most of its argument was recasting its amicus brief in the Apple-Samsung lawsuit with the exception of its argument for preserving holiday sales.

Google was much more aggressive and wanted a denial of the ban no matter what the terms. It took an ideological tone and saw Android as a necessary force, providing choice and room for alternate app stores like the Amazon Appstore as well as developers. The firm tried to portray Apple as being over-controlling of its platform and that, as the largest individual US smartphone maker, it would only worsen competition and create an "entrenched monopoly" for Apple if HTC was taken out of the market.

Without HTC, the market "could drive up prices, diminish service, decrease consumers' access to the technology, and reduce innovation," Google said. The US military was using Android devices, and reducing Android's presence could hurt public safety. With reduced partnerships between phone makers and carriers, networks might not be developed, and innovation itself might be cut short.

Whether or not the arguments will hold any sway isn't certain and might be doubtful. Neither argument directly challenges the validity of the patent violation claims themselves. They maintained instead that market necessities outweighed the drawbacks of any possible duplication of Apple's technology. With the exception of T-Mobile's suggested transition, neither had a path that would get HTC out of the supposed infringement and negate the pressure for a ban.

Although the ITC might accept parts of HTC's appeal, Apple is still expected to get at least some of its claims upheld and might end up in the same position as if it won the dispute outright. HTC may be pushed into a settlement since it will have hardware taken off the market while it waits for its own counterattacks to go through the ITC and courts, where they might not necessarily be victorious. [via Florian Mueller]

by MacNN Staff



  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Asian mfgrs...

    got away with infringing for years. They finally ran into someone with money who isn't afraid to take them on. They probably put NOTHING in their "war chests" for such rainy days because they never thought they would see such a rainy day. The arguments about competition, pricing, etc. all appear lacking merit as Apple drops the p[rice of their hardware. HTC and Google want a free ride. "There is no free lunch" fellows.

  1. facebook_Robert

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Oct 2011


    Racist remarks

    Apple's products are manufactured in Asia. They've competed for that market and won, fair and square.

    You can appeal to people's nationalism, to their racism - it'll have some play, people don't seem to be immune from it.

    But it's hypocritical. Apple has lost patent disputes in the past, they are facing more infringing claims - they recently lost a claim from S3, they are facing antenna patent claims from Samsung.

    The reality is - you can't manufacture a phone without licensing hardware patents from someone else - so many thousands of patents have been granted to differing owners of those patents - its part of it.

    But apple wants to say, we'll take those licenses on the hardware (or not) - but we don't plan to license out any software patents that we own, and we'll just take a monopoly in the market, thank you very much.

    It's up to the government to slap Apple down on that one. Because its anti-competitive and the purpose of the patent system isn't to protect apple - it's to protect society, its ultimate purpose is to foster competition, not to destroy it.

  1. global.philosopher

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Waaaw waaaw waaaw

    So we are stealing someone's what.... We have money to make....besides the public safety is at stake....WHAT????

  1. facebook_Robert

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Oct 2011


    It's not stealing bo bo

    You know if you want a moniker like philosopher, maybe you'll put some thought into your posts?

    Just a suggestion.

    It's not stealing, the patent system grants 'ownership' of obvious ideas - of typical engineering solutions, to companies - and it's why patent claims are thrown out all the time.

    Even in the Oracle vs. Google dispute, the vast majority of Oracle's patent claims have already been tossed.

    So, educate yourself next time. It's how the system works, the patent office gives someone a patent, the patent holder tries to collect money - the company they are trying to collect from says WTF - that's prior art, you didn't invent that at all!

    Then the patent gets tossed out - that's a nutty, stupid system, but it *is* the system.

    So sit their and whine about *stealing* - you are supposed to stand up for your rights and tell patent trolls they are full of it, and don't have a valid patent.

    Apple has done that all the time. Microsoft does it all the time. Google does it all the time. HTC does it too.

    And usually - you win. But every once in a while - you lose. Microsoft lost a big case over XML. Apple lost $200 million in a patent dispute over cover flow. They lost a patent dispute with Nokia. They've actually lost tons of patent disputes.

    But I don't blame Apple either - you don't actually get to know if a patent is truly valid or not, until you ultimately lose the suit in court.

  1. facebook_Robert

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Oct 2011


    Apple's patent losses

    Apple's iPod - infringement on Creative's Zen music player patents.
    After creative files suit, Apple ends up paying $100 million.

    Apple lost a patent lawsuit to Personal Audio LLC over playlists - Apple insisted the patents were invalid - the court didn't agree.

    OPTi won a $19 million verdict against Apple over a patent infringement claim in 2009.

    Apple was found to be violating two of S3 graphics patents used for playing video games on mobile devices - remove games from the app store anyone? Yeah, I didn't think so.

    If anyone doesn't know it - Via, owners of fundamental technology patents on CPU just filed suit against apple over the A4 and A5 chips used in iPhones and iPads.

    You want those blocked from sale? If I were Via, I wouldn't settle, I'd just refuse to grant the license at all, and after the sales were blocked, then I'd go to a defeated Apple and offer a license for a huge slice of that $90 billion they have in cash - earned by stealing other people's ideas (two can play that game).

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