California - After a daunting thirty-two month patent infringement lawsuit between Apple Inc. and HTC, the two tech giants announced a confidential 10-year licensing agreement that will cover both current and future patents held by both companies. The companies also dismissed all pending lawsuits against each other.
The patent infringement dispute arose in March 2010 when Apple filed a complaint against HTC for infringing ten patents related to user interface design. The International Trade Commission determined that HTC was indeed in violation of one patent, which caused a delay in launch dates of the HTC One X and other products due to an import ban.
HTC is not the only Android hardware manufacturer that Apple is embroiled with in messy patent battles. The late CEO Steve Jobs had declared a "thermonuclear war" against the Android operating system, which he called a "stolen product." The company has gone toe to toe with both Samsung and Motorola over claims of patent infringement involving hardware design, core operating system functionalities, and elements of user interface.
The outcome of these current patent battles could affect the design and functionality of smartphones as well as their cost and availability when licensing fees and ITC bans take place.
"HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation," said Peter Chou, Chief Executive Officer of the Taiwan-based HTC.
Tim Cook, who replaced Jobs as the CEO of Apple, made a similar statement indicating that the company intends on staying "laser focused on product innovation." Unlike Jobs' war mantra of dragging these claims out in court for years and years, Cook has taken a less hostile approach. He appears to be more willing to work out deals with the Android makers to avoid the courts. The company struck a deal with handset-maker Nokia, which included money from Apple.
Regardless of Cook's diplomatic approach to the patent wars, Apple failed to strike a settlement agreement with Samsung earlier this year. Apple won the case in court with the jury awarding it $1 billion in damages, a decision which Samsung says it will appeal.