Some observations about this Apple-HTC patent lawsuit

  • If you think this isn’t really a suit aimed at Google, you are kidding yourself (Android Nexus One and myTouch cited in the brief ).   By going after HTC, is Apple trying to scare manufacturers away from Google’s Android?  Wouldn’t Palm have been a better choice since they make both the hardware and the software in their devices?  Can’t HTC just say that they make hardware and none of the software stuff applies to them?  “Go bother Google!”
  • Was Steve Jobs’ Town Hall meeting where he called Google’s ‘don’t be evil’ mantra BS a call to battle? “On Google: We did not enter the search business, Jobs said. They entered the phone business. Make no mistake they want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them, he says.” was he readying the troops for this?
  • The suite comes a month to the day after Google enabled multi-touch on its flagship Nexus One phone.
  • As a long time Apple-watcher this has some parallels to the Microsoft/HP lawsuit of the 1990’s.  But those were about copyrights.  This is about patents.  Much easier to prove and win/settle patent disputes.
  • Apple hired Bruce Sewall to be their General council last year.  Sewall was part of the team that represented Apple vs. Microsoft in the 1990s and lost.  He’s also spent time with Intel doing anti-trust government litigation.
  • Are lawsuits what Steve Jobs’ $40 Billion war chest are for?  Is that what the big plan is? 
  • Why hasn’t Palm gotten hit?  Perhaps because they aren’t a threat?  Palm was who Tim Cook was saber-rattling against when he said Apple would defend its patents…weren’t they?  What about RIM?
  • Google didn’t enable Multi-touch on Android in the US specifically so they wouldn’t get sued (Apple ‘asked them not to’).  Is this what kept them out of trouble or is it only a matter of time before they become roped into all of this?
  • Are all of those people (myself included) who said “If you can’t beat them, sue them” when Nokia sued Apple going to change their minds?
  • The patents in dispute range from Object Oriented Programming techniques from NeXT in 1995 (Which is apparently still a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple’s) to the “Swipe to unlock” patent which is a month old today and all points in between.
  • It is a good time to be a technology IP lawyer in the valley (unless you value family time).  You’ve got the three of the world’s biggest mobile companies squaring off against each other (with Kodak thrown in) and all of the rest in a scramble to protect themselves.  It will be interesting to see if the ITU or Govt. orgs
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