Android smartphone maker HTC appeared to have gained some much needed ammunition to fight back against Apple in the unholy patent wars this week. The International Trade Commission disclosed a July decision in favor of video card chip maker S3 and against Apple. Since HTC is buying S3, this would seemingly give the company important counter-leverage with Apple, which won "an initial determination" against HTC's Android phones with an ITC judge a two weeks ago.
But patent lawyer and blogger Florian Mueller, who has been following all of the tech patent wars closely, thinks yesterday's news about HTC ultimately leaves the company in the same position of weakness.
Based on this new information, it seems increasingly unlikely to me that HTC can get much leverage out of that process. It looks like HTC is going to have to use some other patents than the four at issue in that proceeding in order to put Apple under serious pressure. Right now it seems that the validity of those four S3 patents is uncertain, and even the worst-case scenario for Apple may just come down to a need to equip its Macintosh computers with NVIDIA chips. The iPhone, iPad and iPod product lines aren't even affected at all. Against that background, Apple can apparently keep pursuing its multiple lawsuits against HTC.
-FOSS Patents Blog, July 27, 2011