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HTC Files Counterclaim against Apple

The Patents blame game continues as Apple’s litigation team will be kept a little busier following HTC’s move on Tuesday to file a counterclaim in a Florida court, claiming that Apple has infringed on two of its patents.  The Taiwanese manufacturer is claiming that Apple infringed the patents, originally assigned to Hewlett-Packard and Electronic Data Systems, which was acquired by HP in 2008.

The counterclaim comes after ongoing legal action by Apple for patent infringement, both against HTC and Motorola Mobility. This current move is just one more in the ongoing patent infringement cases ongoing in a variety of international courts between Apple and other leading smartphone/tablet manufacturers.

HTC’s latest claim submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida that it has been assigned all rights, title and interest of U.S. Patent No 7,571,221 (the ‘221 patent) entitled “Installation of network services in an embedded network server”,  which was assigned to HP.

Additionally, it add a claim all rights, title and interest to U.S. Patent No 7,120,684 (the ‘684 patent), entitled “Method and system for central management of a computer network”, which was assigned to Electronic Data Systems.

In relation to the ‘684 patent the claim hinges on Apple’s Remote Desktop and Profile Manager, with the submission stating, Apple’s products and services including but not limited to Apple Remote Desktop, Apple Profile Manager, and/or products and services that use Apple Remote Desktop and Apple Profile Manager infringe on claims of the ‘684 patent.

The claim in relation to the ‘221 patent refers to consumer products using the iOS or OS X operating systems, the claim stating consumer products using the iOS or OS X operating systems, which contain embedded network servers and software and services such as Newsstand.  It went on to say the infringing products include Macs, mobile communication devices such as various versions of the iPhone and mobile computing devices including versions of the iPad.

This latest case comes as all eyes were turning to the US for the latest battle between Apple and Samsung, due to start at the end of July.  Whilst Apple has recently suffered a number of setbacks, with rulings going against them in recent weeks in England & Wales and then Germany, crucially the California trial could be a turning point.  In a move that has concerned some consumers and analysts, US District Judge Lucy Koh of San Jose, California had already granted a pre-trial injunction against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Galaxy Nexus phone.  If successful in the final ruling in the case, Apple could achieve a permanent ban on the sale of some Samsung products in this crucial market.

It is clear with the latest move from HTC; Apple rivals are fighting avidly to retain their position in the marketplace.  Both consumers and developers are watching the outcomes of these cases with interest, with concerns already raised in a number of fields that excessive legal claims from Apple over generic design could harm the industry’s potential to innovate as well as severely limit consumer choice.

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