HTC deal could paint Apple into a corner

Apple’s HTC deal could paint Cupertino into a corner and force it to accept less in its other patent trolling activities.

Last week Apple and HTC ended their worldwide legal battles with a 10-year patent licensing agreement. Since it was an Apple agreement it was conducted with extreme secrecy with the negotiators buried alive afterwards so they could not talk.

This means that it is not clear how much HTC paid for the patents and which ones were covered.

Samsung has scented blood over the deals. It realised that HTC cannot have been hit by the same ridiculous demands for payments that it was targeted with.

According to Reuters, it has gone to court and asked for details of the HTC and Apple agreement. If it can prove that HTC paid less than Apple is demanding from Samsung, then it could be required to pay much less.

If HTC was allowed to buy a licence for the “user experience” patent then it means that Apple lied when it stood up in court and said it would never licence that in a trillion years.

If that licence was not included then Apple would still need to be suing HTC.

But if it did license it then it could undermine the iPhone maker’s efforts to permanently ban the sale of products that allegedly copy its technology.

Reuters points out that judges are less likely to block the sale of products if the dispute can be resolved via a licensing agreement.

This is one of the reasons why Apple said that it would never licence the “user experience” patent so that it could pull its most successful rival off the shelves with a court order.

To get such a ban, Apple must show the copying of its technology caused irreparable harm and that money is not enough.

It was always going to have an uphill battle on that particular clause. Apple had licensed those holy patents to Microsoft which signed an anti-cloning agreement as part of the deal.