Apple Inc. is being aggressive defending its own IP with well publicized suits against Samsung and HTC, Barclays Capital said. Key companies in the wireless arena including Apple and Google Inc. continue to acquire and invest in IP to cement their positions.
It is clear that defending IP is one of the major battle fronts against Android, Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes said. Some updates include:
On July 15, the U.S. ITC (International Trade Commission) issued an initial determination in Apple's patent infringement suit against HTC, ruling that HTC violated two of Apple’s patents. HTC has vowed to appeal the determination before the ITC Commissioners make the final verdict.
In another case, S3 Graphics (acquired by HTC) won a ruling on July 1 that declared that Apple products did violate patents held by S3.
According to Dow Jones, HTC expects a final ruling in this dispute between Apple and S3 Graphics on November 1. HTC is also appealing a finding that Apple's Mac operating system didn't infringe S3's patents for a graphics processor made by Nvidia.
HTC has now also filed suit against Apple in the UK as well. HTC acquired graphics company S3 in a deal valued at $300 million (deal expected to close at the end of 2011) to secure patents to better its position with regard to future litigation from the likes of Apple.
Reitzes believes that Apple and HTC are likely to seek a settlement by paying out certain amount of the damages, with or without future licensing royalties, subject to negotiations.
Kodak indicated on July 20 that it had hired Lazard as an advisor to explore strategic alternatives related to its digital imaging patent portfolios.
Kodak is considering selling more than 1,100 U.S. patents (10 percent of its portfolio) pertaining to capturing, processing, storing, organizing, editing and sharing digital images, including imaging monetization applications. These patents may be more and more relevant to wireless devices, which are increasingly becoming camera replacements.
It has settled image-preview suits and signed licenses with 32 companies including $550 million settling lawsuits over image previewing with Samsung Electronics in 2010 and $400 million with LG Electronics in 2009 (Kodak’s current market cap is only $640 million).
Kodak’s ongoing lawsuits against Apple, however, did not get favorable rulings, Reitzes said.