Google sells patents to HTC, HTC uses them to sue Apple

Google sells patents to HTC, HTC uses them to sue Apple

According to Bloomberg, Google -- who previously never missed an occasion to whine about patents and patent litigation -- seems to have been quietly buying patents of its very own from Palm, Motorola, and Openwave Systems, then sold them to HTC so HTC to use them to sue Apple. Pretty slick.

The lawsuit contends the Mac computer, iPhone, iPod, iPad, iCloud and iTunes are infringing patents for a way to upgrade software wirelessly; a way to transfer data between a microprocessor and a support chip; a method to store user preferences, and a way to provide consistent contact between application software and a radio modem.

HTC also amended a complaint with the International Trade Commission today, adding five of the former Google patents to a case that targets many of the same products. Three of those patents Google bought from Openwave and two others had been owned by Palm, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) last year.

Apple originally sued HTC, and HTC has countersued before. The strange part is that HTC says they "will continue to protect its patented inventions" when Google just bought said inventions for HTC last week? Apple buys patents as well, from Fingerworks for multitouch to Nortel for LTE, and no doubt won't waste any time asserting them, it's just interesting wording on HTC's part.

With Apple still suing Android manufacturers instead of Google directly, and Google now supplying arms to those manufacturers instead of going after Apple directly, one thing is for certain -- we're going to need a lot of popcorn.

[Bloomberg]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 38 comments. Add yours.

Ghost69 says:

That is one ugly dude.

bvonscott says:

These patent ideas: "The lawsuit contends the Mac computer, iPhone, iPod, iPad, iCloud and iTunes are infringing patents for a way to upgrade software wirelessly; a way to transfer data between a microprocessor and a support chip; a method to store user preferences, and a way to provide consistent contact between application software and a radio modem."
...have to have been around for decades. I mean look them...All those ideas would have been used by Apple, Intel, Microsoft and others long before any of these crazy lawsuits started. I can see those being around for the early days of Windows And some of the first mobile phones and other devices. Unless HTC plans on suing EVERYBODY That started using the concepts from way back and still use them I just don't see this lawsuit making any sense as they are way too broad. That really goes the same for other broad patent lawsuits. Unless it's something very specific these lawsuits are turning into a huge waste of money and time.

sting7k says:

I agree those descriptions sound like something that Apple, Microsoft, and IBM would have patented or came up with decades ago. How long has Windows been "upgrading wirelessly"? Kind of confusing IMO.

Dev says:

With patents, unlike trademarks, you can choose whom to sue for the lifetime of the patent. Crazy as it may seem, HTC could sue everybody, nobody, or just Apple, much like NTP sued RIM for "wireless delivery of email," but not every other manufacturer, or, for that matter, much like Apple is suing Samsung for some patents and not other manufacturers, or Google directly for the software patents. It is the nature of the game.

Chuck Wilson says:

Just think this all started back when microsoft stoled from Apple in the beginning of the pc.

Ghost69 says:

Stoled? /double facepalm

Guest says:

...or when Apple "stoled" it from Xerox Parc in the first place.

johncblandii says:

@nervous_energy See my comments above.

DiamondDNice says:

Samsung is laughing their ass off.

johncblandii says:

You know, I wondered why not Samsung. What made them choose HTC as the one to buy them or was there a silent auction between the two?

joBlow says:

Perhaps strategy base on $ and legal position. Samsung has deep pockets and can fight one front on their own, while Google supplies HTC to fight another front, combining to drain more Apple resources. HTC was previously in a weaker legal position--

johncblandii says:

Good point. Help the one least likely to make it through the war.

DiamondDNice says:

sell the patents too? samsung may not have wanted them, needed them or may have offered less money. Samsung may have seen no value to samsung in what was offered.

johncblandii says:

I say good for them. Apple started a war and Google is playing the arms dealer. Protect the fleet!

Matthew Drazin says:

I say your not sure what your talking about. I have been reading your comments on several articles for days now and you just talk. You really have no facts to your post. Google is not playing arms dealer either arms dealer get paid........................ TROLL?!?!?!?
On top of that what fleet you mean the new Motoogle Battleship thats going to sink android.

Nick says:

Are you dumb? Like, seriously? Besides your butchering of the English languages, John is one of the more intelligent commenters on here.
"arms dealer get paid" ---> "Google sells patents to HTC"
How are they not getting paid?

Pirate says:

Ya I'm sure they got paid lol.... Htc and google tell two different stories still scared of big bad apple. Mark these words the open source android platform will be gone in 2 years. Google is losing money left n right. Motorola 12 bil worth crap n don't forget they lost a whole quarters worth of earnings when the government sued them for illegal prescription ads.

johncblandii says:

So Google only makes 500M per quarter and the gov took that? You may want to check their earnings report http://investor.google.com/earnings.html. 500M is not their quarterly profit.
Strong words on Androids death. In September 2013, we'll still be here discussing patent wars, iOS 7, Android 4 and 5, etc.
As for Moto, they def' paid a pretty penny but Moto isn't crap by any means: http://seekingalpha.com/article/282703-motorola-solutions-ceo-discusses-.... Their profits increased in Q2 as did their sales to $2.1B.
We'll see if they can take Moto to another level. No one knows that answer.

johncblandii says:

We all just talk, don't we? :-D #sticksandstones lol
Try reading the article above:
"Google - ... - seems to have been quietly buying patents of its very own from Palm, Motorola, and Openwave Systems, then sold them to HTC so HTC to use them to sue Apple. Pretty slick."
Hrmm...they bought patents then "SOLD" them to HTC. Sounds like an arms dealer to me. :-)
Yes, the fleet is the slew of Android OEMs.

johncblandii says:

Actually, no. Apple's are very generic as well; not all of them but several are pretty generic. Search TiPB for Apple patents and you'll see a post where they detailed them, if I recall correctly.

RodneyJ725 says:

It's getting as boring as a football game of just field-goals: back and forth and no clear leader. Just wake me up when they go into overtime.

Tazh89 says:

Lol you are saying these patents are generic...have you seen apples patent. Which are even more generic...

joBlow says:

As if Apple started the patent wars--In for a penny, in for a pound--They are all guilty. And the "evil" tag is in reference to business practices, so it can't be "just business" for them and "evil" for Apple---

johncblandii says:

Apple did start it. No Android OEM attacked the iPhone/iPad. Apple started the ball rolling.

johncblandii says:

@nervous_energy They have openly stated they will protect their innovations and feel Android OEMs are infringing. So they sued.
Do you think Android OEMs want to pick a fight w/ Apple? :-)

D Rey Reynolds says:

I just love all the factual statements you just presented. It is purely your opinion that the iPhone 5 will on par with the Galaxy S II. and why are you talking crap on apple on an iPhone blog? your dumb.

Dev says:

Forget Apple karma, forget Google hypocrisy, forget taking sides at all.
The one good thing that could come from this is the real possibility of patent reform if Apple faces sanctions. Yes, I know Android has some fans, but people simply do not care about shipments of the Galaxy Tab being suspended, at least not with the same fervor or even in remotely the same numbers as people care about their iDevices.
Were Apple to face an injunction against import/sales of iPhones or iPads, the legions of Apple customers might actually form a large and loud enough block to force their Congresscritters take a hard look at the patent system.
But probably not.
Oh well, I can dream...

fastlane says:

Ever ask yourself why those consumers don't buy Android devices just because of the Android name or Google name?

TKFox007 says:

If the judge has a brain in their head they'll throw these cases out of court and order a patent reform and strip the companies of their very broad and generic patents that could mean anything.

Matthew Drazin says:

I love how people say apple started that patent war lol. Im pretty sure there just saying apple started the patent lol. I mean really they were the first smart phone to ever be this big so how could anyone start with them. Everyone else said wow looked what apple did how can we replicate this and in this process they have violated several patents so yes apple is going to be the first one to sue. Make Sense? I think so. I also love the dont be evil motto, anyone recall the internal email google had relating to Oracle patents.....Nah thats not evil thats just stealing. I guess theres a huge difference. PS my new nickname for google is Robinhood they grab from the rich and give to the poor (HTC) mwaa haa ha aa

Matthew Drazin says:

Did not mean oracle patents sorry I meant licenses before I get bashed by trollz ;

zaersx says:

PLEASE STOP ITC COMPLAINTS. we already don't have the Galaxy Tab(for those who want it) in Europe, and we don't want an iDevice lockdown... This is a point where your allowed to say, FFS

Guest says:

It's a great political move by Google by letting others do their dirty work while keeping their hands clean of the blood.
All the more reason why I hate Google and everything they stand for. At least with Apple, I know where they stand, for better or worse.