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Google Risks Apple Ire by Selling Smartphone Patents to HTC

Last month in a post on how Google's acquisition of Motorola will fuel more smartphone patent battles, Lora Bentley noted that HTC was suing Apple again, alleging that several Apple devices infringe on three HTC patents, two of which HTC gained by acquiring ADC Technologies last spring. The lawsuit is HTC's latest salvo in a yearlong patent battle with Apple. She wrapped her post by saying skirmishes over smartphone patents were only going to get more interesting.

 

Obviously, she was right. Yesterday HTC filed infringement claims against Apple using patents it purchased from Google. HTC bought the patents, which originated with Palm, Motorola and Openwave Systems, just last week. A SiliconValley.com story called Google's sale of the patents a "new front in an industrywide dispute over smartphone technology that has also ensnared Motorola, Barnes & Noble and Samsung."

 

The flurry of lawsuits between HTC and Apple are beginning to take on a soap opera quality. Google's entry makes it even more juicy. The story quotes an intellectual property expert who says Google's move to help HTC increases the likelihood that Apple will go after Google directly. Many folks, including Lora, believe Google has been Apple's target all along.


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