Apple/HTC cross licensing deal details revealed with scads of redactions

Last month Apple and HTC signed a ten-year cross-licensing agreement that saw the two companies agree to set aside their gangs of lawyers and get back to creating new and exciting devices. We didn't expect that we'd ever be made privy to the details of the agreement, but seeing as Samsung's lawyers and Apple's lawyers haven't yet managed to hammer out a similar agreement, Samsung found themselves curious about the details. And being that they pay their lawyers in wheelbarrows of won, they were able to make that happen, with some assistance from the court.

The heavily-redacted 140 pages documents were made part of the public record by way of Samsung for today's hearing in their patent trial against Apple in California. AllThingsD's Ina Fried dug into the stack of documents, and while a lot of the nitty gritty details were covered up with thick black lines (many Sharpies were killed in the production of this document), we were able to get an idea of the broad strokes of the deal between Apple and HTC.

As you might expect, Apple's design patents on devices like the iPad and iPhone are not part of the deal, as Apple takes their design patents very very seriously (see: Apple vs. Samsung, parts 1-∞). In keeping with that, the agreement sets up an 'arbitration process' for Apple and HTC should the former believe the latter has released a "cloned" product. Seeing as HTC's recent designs have taken a decidedly unique approach to design, we wouldn't consider that clause likely to be invoked any time soon.

Apple has also agreed not to sue HTC over a certain list of their products, but those are redacted. Also redacted are nine patents HTC has not licensed to Apple, otherwise it appears that everything else in Apple's and HTC's patent portfolios are getting shared to prevent further litigation. Unsurprisingly, how much HTC is paying in royalty rates to Apple was also blacked out, though HTC's said before that they don't expect the agreement to have "to have an adverse material impact" on their bottom line. That's what happens when you swap paying for lawyers with paying licensing fees.

Ina Fried was also in the courtroom as Samsung and Apple's lawyers went back to sparring over patents and the like in San Jose today (The Rumble In The Valley™), providing excellent blow-by-blow coverage as United States District Judge Lucy Koh presided over the proceedings. Before things even got started at 1:30 Pacific time, HTC was already involved, arguing that their excessive redactions were within the letter of the order, with HTC having redacted "terms and details irrelevant to this case"; Samsung contends that the agreement with HTC "is proof that Apple was willing and in fact has entered into license agreements concerning at least some of the patents at issue in this case."

In fact, Apple had offered a licensing agreement to Samsung back in 2010. The terms would haven been mighty expensive for Samsung, amounting to around a quarter of a billion dollars annually. Instead, we've been treated to the driest and nerdiest courtroom drama ever. They spent forty-five minutes arguing about damages over the Samsung Prevail today. Yeah, exciting stuff.

Source: AllThingsD (HTC agreement, Trial coverage) via Android Central

Derek Kessler

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.