HTC Sues Apple Using Patents Acquired from Google

Bloomberg reports HTC has filed a fresh lawsuit against Apple, using patents it acquired last week from Google:

HTC sued Apple today in federal court in Delaware, claiming infringement of four of those patents that originally were issued to Motorola. Taoyuan, Taiwan-based HTC also amended a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, alleging infringement of three patents first issued to Openwave and two others originally owned by Palm.

HTC and Apple have had numerous lawsuits against each other, but this is the first time Google has assisted an OEM in a lawsuit, and raises some interesting questions, as noted by Nilay Patel over at This Is My Next:

  • Why didn’t Google sue Apple directly?
  • Did Google acquire these patents knowing they would be alleged against Apple, by Google or a third party?
  • Has Google started acquiring patents for express purpose of offensive litigation, which it’s promised it would never do?
  • How much did HTC pay Google for these patents? Market price? Or is Google subsidizing HTC’s legal defense by acquiring patents and selling them for nominal amounts?
  • Will Google similarly assist other Android vendors who are being sued, like Samsung and Motorola?
  • And lastly — and possibly most importantly — why didn’t Google sue Apple directly?

These patent lawsuits are getting out of hand, but when billions of dollars are on the line, anything is fair game. Stay tuned as more info surfaces regarding this latest patent lawsuit.