back to article HTC bags UK win in patent war with Apple

A UK court has decided that not only did HTC not infringe on four patents Apple brought against it, but three of them are invalid. HTC was first to file in the UK, trying to invalidate patents that were already at issue in the firms' cases in Germany, but Apple quickly counter-sued over patents dealing with multi-touch, photo …


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  1. despicable me


    Let's hope these are the first of many patents (on all sides) to be overturned "because they were obvious, in the common knowledge or had been done before".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good!

      There's just too many patents and too few people to administer them.

    2. LarsG

      You'd think

      The time has come to shake hands and start making up with each other.

      Making up is much more fun you know!

  2. David Webb

    Apple said it had no additional comment other than its stock reply that "competitors should create their own technology, not steal ours"."

    I'm sorry Apple, but judge just ruled that 75% of your patents in this case are invalid and the only one you could have wasn't infringed, which tends to suggest that you're not exactly creating your own technology.

  3. Andrew Jones 2

    So.... according to Apple -

    the courts are right when they rule in favour of Apple - but when they don't - they are wrong?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Just how the game is played.

    2. toadwarrior

      You'd understand if you were a fanboy.

  4. g e

    We are Apple

    No. You are obvious and invalid. Goodbye.


  5. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Yay for the UK patent office!

    Jolly good shop, chaps!

    1. Keep Refrigerated


      The idiots at the UK patent office granted these patents to Apple. It's the court that has effectively decided that they shouldn't have been in the first place. Please don't give praise to the UKPO - they're the enablers.

      Perhaps what companies like Apple should do is sue patent offices that grant them dud patents and cost them legal fees. Then the dummies who work there might have some incentive to actually investigate cases of prior art or simply reject patents that are, y'know, too obvious.

      1. Arctic fox
        Thumb Down

        @Keep Refrigerated Re "....don't give praise to the UKPO....."

        I think that when he posted "yay for the UK patent office" he may not have been being entirely serious, hmm? You know, the concept known as "satire".

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We really need to get past this stupid patent trolling phase we are going through... there is really no need to patent such trivial pieces of technology, and software patents in general are just a silly idea... plenty of games develop and adapt from each other, or are we just waiting for Activision to file a patent for first person shooters? The mobile sector could learn plenty from the gaming sector in this regard, as the only losers are punters and the main winner is lawyers.

  7. geekclick
    Thumb Up

    Ahhh a ruling that makes sense

    At long last, happily from the UK for a change :D

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Further confirmation that Google runs the UK

    As today's article said.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Open Letter

    Dear Apple

    If you want to do business in the UK please remember to play nice and respect our rules.

    We have a high level of pedantry and you really don't want us looking that closely do you?

    As sincerely as an Englishman can be

    The UK

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Open Letter

      Wow, really... Imagine what they would find if the UK looked into HTC..

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        Re: Open Letter (@dx)

        What would they find?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Open Letter (@dx)

          Maybe THUCK

      2. David 138
        Thumb Up

        Re: Open Letter

        Its not a Win for HTC its a win for all companies :) Who cares who looses when everyone gains :) Apple loosing is just a bonus as they are by a long way the biggest problem at the moment. If you cant beat them sue them with patents that should never have existed. Like the ones banning Samsung atm in america.

        1. Captain DaFt

          Re: David 138

          You get an upvote from me for what you said, but please *please* lose that extra "o" in the future!

          It really grates to see it running around loose like that!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Open Letter

        They'd find bugger all. HTC isn't the bully that Apple is.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Open Letter

      I don't subscribe to this letter. When was the last time ANY company played nice in the UK?

      Your hallucinating on your own fandroid fantasies.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Open Letter

        Well I don't get the whole "in the UK remember to play nice and respect our rules" angle either, but I've only been here for 15 years. Does this only apply to foreign companies?

        After all, British Telecom also have an ongoing patent case against Android (details here) .

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Open Letter

          You can't call them British Telecom as that is racist. BT is now short for BT

          1. Roger Stenning

            Re: Open Letter

            What the heck have you been smoking? "Racist"? What utter rot and nonsense.

            Telephonic communications in Great Britain and Northern Ireland were originally run by the General Post Office (GPO), which hived off the telephone business to "Post Office Telephones". When the GPO was privatised (a hideous decision that was just plain wrong in my view) - excuse me, when the telephones were "deregulated", it was named "British Telecom". Before long, it was being abbreviated by all and sundry as "BT", and they actually renamed it as "BT" a sort while later, which was more of a fait accomplis than anything remotely sinister. There y'go. History in a nutshell.

            "Racist" my arse.


    3. David Webb

      Re: Open Letter

      You're right, we are very pedantic which is why...

      As sincerely as an Englishman can be

      The UK

      *SLAP* The UK isn't England </pedantic>

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        Re: Re: Open Letter

        "....The UK isn't England...." Well, the important bits are. To be more precise, the UK is largely what is left of the ENGLISH Empire. Thank you, you may return to your serf activities now.

  10. David 138

    Take note america!

    Thank god the UK justice system works....unless its deporting Terroists.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Take note america!

      David138: "Thank god the UK justice system works....unless its deporting Terroists."

      ... or punishing twits ... or not punishing multi-gazillion pound fraudsters. But this is a jolly good result.

      I'm interested that Apple felt able to say what they said afterwards . If I'd taken someone to court for shoplifting and, on the basis of the evidence, the case had been dismissed, I think it would be frowned upon if I were to come out and say "See, it just shows people can steal from me with impunity".

  11. Shagbag

    Thank Christ

    "The judge ruled that the three other patents were invalid – either because they were obvious, in the common knowledge or had been done before."

    That's what irks it for me. What Apple really need is "the mother of all" enemas.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Big Lie 2.0

    "competitors should create their own technology, not steal ours"

    Apple think that if they say it often enough and loud enough they can convince the world they invented [anything they say]...

    This ruling is a step in the right direction, pity it will probably be ignored in other jurisdictions

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Big Lie 2.0

      you're not fooling anyone either..

      To say Apple did not have a strong influence in today's smartphones is what's called blinded by belief.

      1. MrXavia

        Re: The Big Lie 2.0

        Smart phones existed before the iPhone,

        I thought iPhone was a not so pretty copy of the LG Prada phone but with a bit more oomph..

        take a look

        I had been using smart phones long before this, and had been installing apps long before this, apple just refined the tech for the non technical public.. And that was why I never owned one, it was too restricted and still is...

        Apple invented nothing that wasn't bleeding obvious, they DESIGNED a nice phone, and I will admit they do design nice things... BUT imho unless you make an exact copy that you plan to sell AS an iPhone, how can you sue on a design? oh its black with rounded corners, shock horror!

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: The Big Lie 2.0

          Have you used or seen a LG Prada phone? Only people who didn't use one say that.

          The Prada was not only much smaller (too small for Internet browsing) but didn't have a real operating system, unlike the iPhone. It was buggy as hell, only ran selected Java MIDP apps and , worse of all, the Web browser was a joke.

          Those were also crippling features of other phones at the time and why the iPhone was a wild success: Excellent desktop-quality browser, super intuitive touch screen ( no pens), great screen. And a cherry on top - no carrier skinning.

          Individually they seem now seem obvious, but back then there was nothing obvious about the combination, nor was there anything like it on the market. That's why it took everyone by surprise. Nokia, RIM, Microsoft all just could't believe it, as shown by their respective lack of success thereafter.

          Refined the tech for the non technical public is complete bullshit. Apple was first in making a successful, usable, Unix-based phone. The failures upon failures of previous Linux phones are there to reinforce this, for those of us who saw them.

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: The Big Lie 2.0

            But you don't say the 'first UNIX based phone', you qualify it with 'successful' and 'usable'. Thus it was not the first, so cannot claim patent or copyright. A failed product can still be prior art.

            And I could be a pedant over your use of UNIX, and also ask why a smart phone needs to be running a UNIX like OS (think PalmOS, Nokia Communicator or Windows Mobile devices for other devices that were clearly smart before the iPhone). Apple produced a good product, but not one that was especially innovative.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The Big Lie 2.0

              "Thus it was not the first, so cannot claim patent or copyright."

              It can when many of the patents it uses that are held by the manufacturer are from the 90's.

          2. Mark .

            Re: The Big Lie 2.0

            No True Scotsman - what's a real operating system? The original Iphone couldn't run apps full stop!

            Sure the competition wasn't perfect, but neither was the original Iphone. And does this mean that today's Iphone's aren't smartphones, because the screens are tiny compared to the competiton?

            The original Iphone also wasn't a wild success - it was massively outsold by other smartphone platforms (Symbian especially). Only with time did sales of the platform gradually increase.

            No pens? You don't have to use pens on other touchscreens. But it's an advantage if you can - like on today's Galaxy Note.

            "as shown by their respective lack of success thereafter."

            What, you mean Nokia outselling Apple to this day, with even Symbian alone outselling Iphone for the duration of its lifetime?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Big Lie 2.0

        Nobody said that Apple aren't an influence, even a positive one sometimes, but you don't have to pay to be influenced by someone.

        There's a difference between being influenced by the Beatles (Oasis) and performing their songs (Bootleg Beatles).

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Big Lie 2.0

        Granted it wasn't a slick as iOS, but Windows Mobile has been powering smartphones long before Jobs impregnated the Unix under the MacOS skin and produced the spoiled little brat that is iOS.

    2. Lars Silver badge

      Re: The Big Lie 2.0

      We all learn all the time, and Apple has learned a lot from Microsoft.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Big Lie 2.0

        From Microsoft you say...

        Could you expand on what exactly, or do you mean they learnt from Microsoft how not do things?

    3. Ilgaz

      Re: The Big Lie 2.0

      They have no clue about mobile industry. If they did, they would know htc got their fame for making win mobile junk usable with their ui inventions.

  13. toadwarrior

    Google was wise to buy off the current government.

  14. Ilgaz

    Are they that stupid?

    Htc doesn't use "slide to unlock" at first place. They use a ring, which you can even invoke other tasks right after unlocking.

    They should have checked youtube first. I mean if they are so elite to check a phone shop.

  15. Raz

    The only good thing Apple really did with the iPhone

    was to smash the carrier control over the phone software, ending the days of the feature phones. Apple liberated the phone. The UI gimmicks, "slide to unlock" and so on, big deal.

    1. Mark .

      Re: The only good thing Apple really did with the iPhone

      "was to smash the carrier control over the phone software, ending the days of the feature phones. "

      What do you mean by this? Feature phones still exist. And they have operating system software that isn't controlled by the carrier (e.g., Nokia's S40). A carrier might add extra stuff on top, but they still do this with smartphones today. The distinction between "feature" and "smart" phones is completely arbitrary anyway, basically a marketing issue. It was introduced around 2004 I guess so there was a way to promote the low end Internet and app phones (which really were smartphones), whilst still justifying a higher price for the high end phones by calling them "smart".

      Smartphones haven't got more common than feature phones since 2004, it's just that the definition has changed, so that now increasingly lower priced phones are marketed as "smart" rather than "feature".

      Meanwhile, Apple released a non-smart phone that couldn't even run apps, yet marketed it as "smart" anyway.

  16. JaitcH

    There is only one answer to this stupidity ...

    and that is to have a WTO-like patents agreement where the rules are internationally standardised.

    Remember, it is the CONSUMER who is getting shafted by Apple, etc. so ending these court activities will only make it better for US.

  17. Sirius Lee

    Ruling on-line?

    Does anyone know where the ruling can be downloaded? It's a great curiosity to me that a patent based on software can be claimed in Europe since patents are not allowed here except when that software is an integral part of the hardware. Theses claims are not integral to the hardware: they will run equally well on a range of hardware.

    @JaitcH Absolutely not. The US has allowed patents on business processes (software) for two decades. Because other jurisdictions do not allow these patents, that's two decades US companies have had to corner the market. Your proposal effectively hands worldwide rights to US companies because they would then be able to exploit this lop-sided advantage.

  18. Richard Joseph

    I'm much more cleverer than Apple..

    ....I'm submitting a patent for the use of your fingers in any interaction with a communication device!!!

    Hey, and don't even think about using your nose or your elbow, I patented those, last week.....

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What I don't get is

    Why apple are allowed to bundle safari, Itunes, and the app store, without making you click a shitty little download now option like windows does?

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: What I don't get is

      Beacuse Safari has such a tiny share of the browser market compared to Internet Explorer.

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