Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

HTC's ho-hum case against Apple

May 12, 2010: 5:02 PM ET

Based on five patents listed in the complaint, Apple seems to have the upper hand

The complaint filed by HTC against Apple (AAPL) Wednesday lists five patents that Apple has allegedly violated. We have seen the paperwork. We're not impressed.

The five patents are, in plain language:

  • U.S. Patent No. 6,999,800: Relating to a method of managing power -- on, sleep, off -- in a smartphone that includes both a phone system and a PDA.
  • U.S. Patent No. 5,541,988: Relating to a telephone dialer that can store and access information in a telephone directory.
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,058,183: Another telephone directory patent, this one covering a method of selecting one page from a plurality of pages.
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,320,957: Still another telephone directory patent, this one specifying a way to actually make a call once the number has been located.
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,716,505: A second power-management patent, this one covering a method for transferring data from volatile memory to non-volatile memory when a device enters sleep mode.

HTC has presumably chosen its best five bullets out of a relatively small arsenal of patents. Apple, by contrast, picked 20 patents out of an arsenal amounting to thousands of patents. According to Florian Mueller, founder of the European NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign, that makes it much more likely, in purely statistical terms, that Apple's selection of patents poses a greater threat to HTC than vice versa.

Moreover, Apple filed two suits, one at the U.S. International Trade Commission and the other in U.S. District Court in Delaware. HTC has responded only to the first, which leaves the case in District Court unanswered.

You can read HTC's complaint here, courtesy of All Things D.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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