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From: nicmar12/20/2011 12:27:26 AM
   of 5185
 
Apple scores limited victory in smartphone patent war




The company's logo is seen on the Apple store in Washington October 6, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

By Clare Jim and Poornima Gupta

TAIPEI | Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:11am EST

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Apple Inc scored a narrow victory against Taiwan's HTC Corp in a patent lawsuit over smartphone technology that will set the stage for further battles between rival makers in the fiercely competitive market.

In a case seen as a proxy for a larger fight between Google Inc's Android operating system and Apple's iOS, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that HTC infringed on one of four patents Apple had disputed and imposed a sales ban on some of the Taiwan maker's phones.

While the ruling is unlikely to hurt HTC as much as initially feared because it will have time to work around the offending technology and has until April before the ban becomes effective, it offers Apple ammunition to pursue other makers it believes infringe on its technology.

"This is one skirmish in one battle, which is forming a much larger war and each side has got some ammunition left," said David Wilson, a London-based partner at the intellectual property group with Herbert Smith LLP.

The patent in question, '647, relates to technology that helps users clicking on phone numbers and other types of data in a document, such as an email, to either dial directly or click on the data to bring up more information.

As it is widely used in almost all smartphones, industry experts foresee similar rulings should Apple bring other cases.

"With this ITC ruling, I think other phone companies are all scratching their heads now as to how to resolve the same technology they are using," said Melvin Li, a Hong Kong-based patent agent and counsel consultant at U.S. IP law firm Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesitic PC.

Li said he expected courts in other jurisdictions such as Canada, Australia and Europe to rule similarly on the patent.

Smartphone and tablet technology has already spawned a wealth of patent litigation.

HTC has countersued Apple and is also fighting a patent case in Germany. Microsoft Corp and Motorola Mobility also have lawsuits against each other.

Apple's battle with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, which also uses Android software and is a supplier as well as competitor, has been especially bitter, with some 30 legal cases in 10 countries.

ANDROID DOMINATES ASIA

Apple's founder, the late Steve Jobs, was quoted in his biography as saying that he was going to "destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

But the Android system dominates the Asia-Pacific ex- Japan smartphone market with a 53 percent share this year versus 15 percent for Apple's iOS, according to technology research company IDC, and Android is not likely to lose much ground.

"We still expect a lot of momentum around Android and especially with Ice Cream Sandwich out now," said Bryan Ma, a Singapore-based analyst with IDC, referring to the name for the latest version of Android. "It's not really a lawsuit issue. Those are going to continue on the background anyway."

Apple had initially accused HTC of infringing 10 patents, but six were dropped from the case. The ITC judge then issued a preliminary ruling that HTC infringed two of the remaining four before issuing the final ruling on one patent.

The U.S. trade agency imposed a formal import ban on any HTC phones that infringe on the patent, starting April 19, 2012. HTC gets almost half its revenue from the U.S. market, but may not be hurt too much because the ruling gives it time to launch products that avoid the technology in question.

"It's a limited victory for a variety of reasons," said Peter Toren, an intellectual property litigator and partner with the Shulman Rogers law firm in the United States.

"It gives HTC plenty of time to implement a design-around, which I understand they are already working on," he said. "The order does in fact take effect in April, but the practical impact won't be felt for some months after that."

HTC STILL STRUGGLING

Shares in HTC rose by the daily maximum allowed 6.97 percent in Taipei trading on Tuesday, also helped by a company announcement that it would buy back 10 million of its shares.

HTC said the ruling was a win for it.

"We are very pleased with the determination and we respect it. However, the '647 patent is a small UI experience and HTC will completely remove it from all of our phones soon," Grace Lei, HTC's general counsel, said in a statement.

Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu said of the ruling: "We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."

But HTC may not be fully out of the woods yet.

It has struggled recently after slashing its fourth-quarter revenue guidance due to stiff competition and concerns still linger over whether it can convince investors it sill has the innovative streak that catapulted it from an obscure contract maker to a top brand.

"I have a negative and bearish view (on HTC)," said Yuanta Securities analyst, Bonnie Chang. "I expect its first quarter will still not be good because U.S. phone operators will worry about the injunction and will not pull in inventory until HTC's new models are approved."

She said the new phones have to prove competitive enough to regain market share because rivals Samsung and Motorola Mobility are selling very well in the fourth quarter.

(Poornima Gupta reported from SAN FRANCISCO; Additional reporting by Argin Chang in TAIPEI and Lee Chyen Yee in HONG KONG; Editing by Andre Grenon, Jonathan Standing and Matt Driskill)

reuters.com

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From: nicmar12/20/2011 12:31:55 AM
   of 5185
 
HTC says ITC decision in Apple case "a win for HTC"

TAIPEI | Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:20pm EST

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwanese smartphone vendor HTC Corp said on Tuesday a U.S. trade panel's final determination was a win for HTC and it is very pleased.

A company official told Reuters that HTC will launch new phones to bypass the infringed patent very soon and it sees limited impact to the company.

"This decision is a win for HTC and we are gratified that the commission affirmed the judge's determination on the '721 and '983 patents, and reversed its decision on the '263 patent and partially on the '647 patent," the world's No.4 smartphone company said in a statement.

"We are very pleased with the determination and we respect it. However, the '647 patent is a small UI experience and HTC will completely remove it from all of our phones soon."

The International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that HTC had infringed on one of Apple's patents and imposed a formal import ban on any HTC phones that infringe on the patent, starting April 19, 2012.

(Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Jonathan Standing)

reuters.com

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To: nicmar who wrote (5146)12/20/2011 12:33:07 AM
From: nicmar
   of 5185
 
Thoughts from anyone on how the ITC decision will effect or relate to IDCC? tia. .. nic

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To: nicmar who wrote (5147)12/20/2011 10:57:11 AM
From: slacker711
1 Recommendation   of 5185
 

Assuming that the patent can be designed around (which seems likely), this decision was good for IDCC. First and foremost, they won't see a dramatic drop in their HTC royalties. Second, the patent war goes on between Apple and HTC. IDCC doesnt want either company to get an injunction which would dramatically increase the odds for a settlement. Better to have the companies still fighting with both at least considering buying a part or all of IDCC.

Just my two cents.


Slacker

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To: slacker711 who wrote (5148)12/20/2011 9:03:00 PM
From: nicmar
   of 5185
 
Thanks slacker. I agree. Thanks for putting it in a form that is easily understandable. Still, I'm thinking it's been too long for a sale to occur. Maybe a SA that teams IDCC with another entity that has complimentary patents with more leverage to licence the bigger companies or an outright purchase of a smaller company such as wilan that would compliment IDCC's patent portfolio giving IDCC more value. Course I could be wrong, but the "going on 6 months doesn't look good to me". Btw, 2 cents? I believe you gave your opinion away too cheap. :) mo.. nic

"Assuming that the patent can be designed around (which seems likely), this decision was good for IDCC. First and foremost, they won't see a dramatic drop in their HTC royalties. Second, the patent war goes on between Apple and HTC. IDCC doesnt want either company to get an injunction which would dramatically increase the odds for a settlement. Better to have the companies still fighting with both at least considering buying a part or all of IDCC. "

"Just my two cents."


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From: nicmar12/20/2011 9:19:16 PM
   of 5185
 
ITC Initial Ruling: Motorola Infringes Single Microsoft Patent, but Not Six Others
December 20, 2011 at 2:12 pm PT

Microsoft won a partial victory in its patent dispute with Motorola, as the International Trade Commission issued an initial ruling that certain Motorola products infringe on one of the software maker’s patents. However, the same administrative law judge found no infringement of six other patents that Microsoft had claimed infringed on its intellectual property

“We are pleased with the ITC’s initial determination finding Motorola violated four claims of a Microsoft patent,” Microsoft Deputy General Counsel David Howard said in a statement. “As Samsung, HTC, Acer and other companies have recognized, respecting others’ intellectual property through licensing is the right path forward.”

Tuesday’s ruling by an administrative law judge is one step in the process. The trade commission itself will now review the finding and issue a final ruling, at which time it will decide whether to ban the import of any Motorola products.

The ruling follows a separate decision on Monday by the commission that certain HTC phones infringe on an Apple patent. In that decision, a final ruling by the commission (though still subject to court appeal) ordered that HTC products using the infringing technology be banned for import, as of April. HTC has said it plans to drop the feature in dispute.

Both cases are among a growing docket of patent disputes involving much of the mobile industry. A key issue for the industry is whether Google’s freely available Android operating system infringes on patents held by Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and others.

Update: In an interview, Motorola General Counsel Scott Offer said the company is pleased with Tuesday’s ruling.

“We view it as a huge win for us,” Offer told AllThingsD. “They had, originally, nine patents in their first case. They are down to one patent, effectively.”

As to that one patent, Offer said that it relates to how mobile devices process meeting requests via email.

“We are reviewing our options on that,” he said.

Tuesday’s decision now goes before the full commission, which typically issues its ruling within two months, though that can be extended, as was the case with Apple and HTC.

For now, Offer said, Motorola wants to keep the focus on its products rather than the court battle.

“We feel we’ve got great products and we are focused on our product portfolio.”

allthingsd.com

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From: nicmar12/20/2011 9:31:00 PM
   of 5185
 
Will spectrum fragmentation mean costlier LTE phones?
By: Mikael Ricknas On: 19 Dec 2011 For: IDG News Service

An industry analyst argues more expensive LTE devices are a certainty because manufacturers will have to consider the many frequencies carriers want to run it on. Read why others disagree
The plethora of spectrum bands used for LTE (Long-Term Evolution) will result in more expensive devices, and also make the ability to roam globally using the technology less likely, according to the Wireless Intelligence, the research arm of the industry group GSM Association.

Wireless Intelligence predicts there will be 38 different spectrum frequency combinations used in LTE deployments by 2015, thanks to ongoing spectrum auctions, license renewals and reallocation initiatives across a wide range of frequency bands, it said on Friday in a new report entitled "Global LTE Network Forecasts and Assumptions -- One Year On."

That fragmentation will have several repercussions, according to Joss Gillet, senior analyst at Wireless Intelligence and author of the report.
The number of combinations means economies of scale won't be as good and prices won't come down as much as they could if fewer spectrum bands were used as volumes increase, Gillet said.

Today, an LTE-equipped smartphone costs about twice as much as a 3G-based device, which means operators have to heavily subsidize them to drive the market. But that isn't possible for operators to do in all parts of the world, because the average revenue per user is much lower than in, for example, the U.S.

Spectrum fragmentation also makes it more complicated and expensive to manufacture smartphones that can connect to the Internet using LTE all over the world.

Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa are the regions that will use the widest variety of spectrum combinations, while the situation in the U.S. and western Europe will be less complicated.

In Canada, BCE Inc.'s Bell Mobility and Rogers Communications are deploying LTE on AWS spectrum in the 1700 and 2100 Mhz bands. Telus Communications Corp. will join them in the new year. The trio also plan to use LTE on the 700 Mhz spectrum that is expected to be auctioned off late next year, and possibly also on the 2500 MHz spectrum that will be auctioned either at the same time or separately.
Not everyone agrees that spectrum fragmentation is the biggest problem facing the rollout of LTE. The ongoing development of more advanced chipsets will bridge the problems created by fragmentation, according to Bengt Nordstrm, co-founder and CEO of market research company Northstream.

He instead objects to the auctioning of spectrum. Governments are in effect taking money from operators that instead could be used for a more rapid rollout of LTE networks, Nordstrm said.

Iain Grant, managing director of the Montreal-based SeaBoard Group, is also a doubter. "A key benefit of LTE is the ability for a carrier to mix and match bands, which brings new flexibilities and efficiencies," he said in an email. "Added radio capacity may add a few dollars to unit costs, but is more than made-up for by the flexibilities that will allow carriers to do much more with radio resource."

http://www.itworldcanada.com/news/will-spectrum-fragmentation-mean-costlier-lte-phones/144521

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From: nicmar12/21/2011 6:55:06 PM
   of 5185
 
from Jeffries note today

"we continue to believe that mobile software and hardware patents generally have easier workarounds than wireless patents. Unless companies have portfolios in all three areas, they are likely to embroiled in the patent wars, we believe however that wireless patents will be the primary battleground. . While apple has some wireless patents from the Nortel patent auction, we see Apples patent strength as mainly in the software and hardware areas"

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From: nicmar12/21/2011 10:23:29 PM
   of 5185
 
I don't have a bit of valid information, but due to the time delay and lack of information coupled with the rumblings and constant message board and media chatter along with the shareprice action, I'm hopefully expecting a sale or a positive SA before the end of January. Think I'll hold off on January calls however. .. mo.. nic

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From: nicmar12/22/2011 12:05:40 PM
   of 5185
 
wonder how much Pegatron will contribute to earnings in the 4th qtr? (compliments dndodd)

Apple orders 15 million iPhone 5s from Pegatron, shipping in September?
By Gloria Sin | July 5, 2011, 1:11pm PDT

Summary: Pegatron, maker of the CDMA iPhone 4s, is producing an “estimated” 15 million next-gen iPhones for Apple by September, according to DigiTimes.

DigiTimes is reporting Taiwanese laptop manufacturer Pegatron Technology (former maker of Asus notebooks) has received an order from Apple for an “estimated” 15 million next-gen iPhone to be ready for shipping by September, according to “sources from upstream component makers”.

It is unclear if Pegatron is being contracted to build the iPhone 4S or the iPhone 5, as some analysts believe Apple is pursuing a two-phone strategy, but as of last month it seemed unlikely that Apple would be able to produce multiple models all with the same September deadline.

This latest rumor from DigiTimes changes all that, especially if the anonymous source is correct that the new iPhone “does not seem to have any major update from iPhone 4,” which suggests Pegatron is making iPhone 4S, with another manufacturer (like Foxconn) possibly handling production for the iPhone 5. Or there could just be one phone from Apple this September, whatever its name.

After all, according to DigiTimes‘ July 1 report, Apple is only working on one iPhone and just added iPad 3 (rather than a second iPhone) to the production schedule, as reported by our friends at Between the Line.

Pegatron has worked with Apple before, as maker of the CDMA iPhone 4s back in 2010 (though less than four million units were shipped due to poor sales in the first quarter of 2011), so it is possible for the company to be on contract with Apple again. The question is just what exactly will Pegatron be making in its factories — will it be the iPhone 4S or the 5?

[Source: DigiTimes]

Related:

CNET: iPhone 5 order: 15 million for Sept. launch, report says
Rumor: Apple to launch iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 by September?
iPhone 5, iPad 3 launching this October?
iPhone 5 - Rumor roundup!
Apple rumor roundup: iPhone 5 this September, hi-res iPad 3, Apple-branded televisions?
Kick off your day with ZD

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