Nov 11 AT 12:29 PM Nick Gray 39 Comments

Apple and HTC settle all patent disputes with 10 year cross-licensing agreement.


In a surprising move, HTC and Apple have announced that the two companies have settled their disputes with an unprecedented agreement for the mobile industry. While Apple will most likely fight to the death with Samsung over patent disputes, HTC and Apple have agreed to a 10-year cross-licensing deal which allows both parties to license each other’s current and future patents.

HTC and Apple have been at odds for several years over various patent disputes. Earlier this year, Apple gained the upper hand when the ITC banned imports of the HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE due to a single patent infringement issue. The situation was quickly remedied, but the delayed launch has caused HTC to falter in the market.

While this cross-licensing agreement will greatly benefit HTC by giving the company access to Apple’s slide to unlock, universal search and portfolio of 4G patents, Apple has a lot to gain as well. As we reported back in early September, HTC’s patent portfolio includes several standard-essential LTE patents which is could use to block the sales of the new iPhone 5.

For now, there’s no indication that Apple will be taking a similar approach with other Android OEMs, but we can always hope. Do you think HTC’s new patent agreement with Apple help the company regain its dominance?

Show Press Release

All Patent Litigation Between the Companies Dismissed

TAIPEI, Taiwan and CUPERTINO, California–November 10, 2012–HTC and Apple® have reached a global settlement that includes the dismissal of all current lawsuits and a ten-year license agreement. The license extends to current and future patents held by both parties. The terms of the settlement are confidential.

“HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC.

“We are glad to have reached a settlement with HTC,” said Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. “We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation.”

Via: The Verge

Source: Apple

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • Vance

    I don’t necessarily see this as a good thing. I’m all HTC all the time, but this is sort of like Neville Chamberlain negotiating a peace with Adolph Hitler. I’d rather they dig and fight back, Samsung style. Why give Apple access to patents that could hurt other android OEMs? There are no Apple design patents I want in my next HTC phone

    • redraider133

      I think they wanted to fight back but they do not want to have all their money tied up with lawyers when now they can use that money on product development. I am sure this was a last ditch effort for HTC and not something they wanted to do but had to to get some protection from sue happy apple.

      • dbest180

        In other words. Apple bullied them into submission. Give us your patents or we’ll grind you to the ground. Thermo-nuclear style.

    • RobBull75

      HTC is much better off spending the money on R&D instead of litigation.

  • Saif

    Apple knew they were on the losing side that’s why they did this

    • Ardrid

      I can’t say I didn’t see this coming. It’s in HTC’s best interests to end litigation as soon as possible in light of their financial situation. Unlike Apple, they don’t have a seemingly endless supply of cash to litigate in perpetuity.

      That said, I don’t think the licensing agreement will help Apple maintain its “dominance.” At the end of the day, all they’re getting are patents over the next ten years, the initial payout notwithstanding. If anything, this agreement serves to help HTC more so over the next ten years because, not only do they not have to worry about wasting resources working around Apple’s patents, but they also get access to everything that Apple should innovate on in the next ten years. That alone could be enough to catapult HTC back to being a top Android OEM, provided they don’t mismanage the situation.

      • R.S

        …everything that Apple should innovate…

        Ha! That’s a good one. Thanks, I needed a good laugh.

  • Chi Kei Chan

    What would happen if Google/Samsung buy HTC?

    • Ardrid

      Interesting question. Most cross licensing agreements have a provision that causes them to be void if one of the companies is purchased. It just depends on how the agreement is worded. You can bet that Google/Samsung would push to rescind it because the last thing they want to do, at least at this stage, is give up their patents to Apple.

  • James

    I’ll never buy an HTC device again.

  • Hom0ncruse

    final nail in the coffin for HTC

    • dbest180

      You got voted down. That’s quite interesting because you are so right. Apple is the winner here. Destroy the competition at all costs.

      • DROID Sam

        How does this agreement destroy HTC? This agreement essentially allows HTC to make any type of phone they choose without Apple challenging them in court.

  • MyMilan

    This kind of proves that samsung is their own worst enemy. If HTC could find a way to come to an agreement, then samslum needs to get off their high horse and also find a way. It’s nice to see companies working together, but I think there is something deeper going on between Apple and samslum now that LG is making the Retina displays. These companies need to find a compromise.

    • redraider133

      But what if apple was more lenient with htc since they are having their own struggles where as samsung is making a killing every quarter and selling a ton of phones?

    • Vance

      Did you not see third quarter numbers? I’d say Samsung’s strategy, though agressive and uncompromising, appears to be working.

      • Jason

        Agreed… Samsung had the most popular device, the highest market share overall, etc. HTC doesn’t have a strong enough position to keep fighting, Samsung does (particularly since there isn’t anyone else big enough to keep Apple supplied with the parts for their devices).

  • Adryan maldonado

    While its not what i quite hoped for i feel this is a good result so at least both apple and htc can those millions of dollars in to research and development instead of pouring that money into making lawyers richer than they already are. Im hopeful for Htc now that they can regain focus. I look foward to the future.

  • PhaseBurn

    HTC benefits a lot from the design patents. As much as we all hate Grapple, their shit sells and part of that is because of the design. HTC has all to gain for its SenseUI (which we all hate too) and outlet to lose. They don’t want to litigate perpetually with the bad fruit company – they don’t have the resources.

  • txbluesman

    This is a good thing, if just for the outlook of having less lawsuits to read about. It has been quite overwhelming. Isn’t it the customer that they all should be trying to please as a whole?

  • G-Thang

    HTC sold their soul to the devil, just so then can stay alive & not go the way of BlackBerry. HTC got a welfare check for the next 10 years from Iphony! Then what after 10 years? Jump on Samsung’s back for another 10 years? Now Iphony has laid out their plan of attack on Android by way of HTC! Do something Google! Fight fire with fire!

    • Swedish viking

      I agree, HTC is dead in the water. I always thought of HTC as the phonemaker for homos…not for normal folks like us

    • DROID Sam

      By the time the agreement expires, so will most of the Apple patents that are currently being used to fight Android.

  • jamal adam

    Now that this is settled, I would like HTC to start marketing their smartphones and releasing them to all carriers. Stop the exclusivity crap and get your act together. Think long term about brand recognition and not on short term money gained from the likes of Verizon. With better marketing comes more brand recognition and more customers, leading to a higher demand and more smartphones being sold.

    • Jason

      I agree… that exclusive per carrier thing is annoying as hell, AND doesn’t work. Motorola, despite now being owned by Google, is following the same strategy, and is also following the same downward trajectory. Make one device available across all carriers, at LEAST for your flagship phone.

  • dbest180

    You will be missed HTC. You will be missed.

    • jamal adam

      This is not the end of HTC. They are still one of the best smartphone companies in the world. This just means that they can now focus on more important matters.

      • DROID Sam

        Yeah, people don’t seem to get that HTC will benefit greatly from this deal. Yes, HTC is probably going to pay for using Apple patents, but they also pay Microsoft to use their patents as well. This wouldn’t be the case if Google’s OS didn’t have a million and one issues which overlap into Apple’s intellectual property.

  • Raptor

    An example for others. This was the right way the business should look like.

  • alexanderharri3

    Focus on more important matters……like making sure the OS phones are released on don’t remain lemons *cough thunderbolt cough*

  • Nathan D.

    One down, but what about the patent system itself?

  • Burnd

    Finally a truce. I don’t think this will work out bad for either company. Now they can finally focus on making awesome phones again.

  • imdiane

    Let’s play nice and ACTUALLY focus on the product!! That’s what I’m understanding here!

  • max lachan

    apple is playing big bully and is trying to monopolize the market…..
    its spiteful against the android platform…its rising popularity and revolutionary design….
    i think htc should have given up a little more fight like samsung ..!!!

  • BrotherBloat

    the article is nice, but the whole patent bs is REALLY boring now… :(

  • sweet

    sad that either way apple get paid )=

  • dutrak

    Anything that gets HTC to focus on their devices only works

  • dutrak


  • melan26

    Seriously with all this fighting, they could find a way to improve their hardware.