Apple and HTC settled all outstanding suits against one another, ending a more than two-year legal battle related to patent infringement. As part of the settlement, the two smartphone makers also penned a 10-year licensing agreement, inclusive of all current and future patents held by each company.
The specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but both companies said they welcome the settlement and new licensing deal.
"We are glad to have reached a settlement with HTC," said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement. "We will continue to stay laser-focused on product innovation."
The legal battle between the two companies started in March 2010, when Apple, Cupertino, Calif., first accused HTC of infringing on 20 of its design patents related to its popular iPhone. The lawsuit, which was filed with both the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court in Delaware, alleged that HTC had copied Apple's patents for the iPhone's touch-screen user interface, underlying architecture, and hardware.
HTC countersued Apple two months later in May, claiming that Apple had infringed on as many five HTC smartphone patents, including those related to dialing functions, users' address books, and various power management technologies. The Taiwanese smartphone maker also attempted to block importation of Apple products, including the iPhone, iPad and iPod, into the U.S.
Though the specific terms of the settlement and licensing agreement are being kept under wraps, Shaw Wu, an analysts at Sterne Agee & Leach, projected that Apple will likely receive as much as $8 in licensing fees for every HTC smartphone sold, or up to $280 million per year.
"We think it is fair that Apple will get some licensing revenue for the intellectual property it has developed -- in particular multitouch gestures -- in making the modern smartphone and tablet with touch screens," Wu said, according to a report from Bloomberg. "Prior to the iPhone and iPad, there were arguably no products that were close in functionality and appearance."
Wu also projected that Apple's agreement with HTC may nudge it toward an agreement with Samsung, another rival smartphone maker with which it's been waging a high-stakes legal battle.
PUBLISHED NOV. 13, 2012