Android Under Serious Threat From Apple Patents

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Android under threat from Apple patents

A recent judgement that has ruled that HTC have infringed Apple patents which could pose a serious long term threat to the Android brand and market.

Apple going litigation crazy:

With a lack of new products emerging from Apple in recent times, we have to ask the question if Apple corp. is too busy fighting legal wrangles to dedicate time to product development.

Of course this is not the case, but Apple have been seen to protect patents related to their mobile market very aggressively of late.

International Trade Commission ruling repercussions

The recent ruling by the International Trade Commission was found to uphold the infringements that Apple claimed on two counts related to the Taiwanese manufacturer HTC who use Android as the O/S for a huge percentage of its phones.

The judgements are only preliminary at the moment and will be subject to a further review, however should they be upheld they related to fundamental operations of the Android operating system and have far ranging impacts for Google and other manufacturers.

The patents that are under review following the judgement are:

No. 5,946,647: system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data

No. 6,343,263: real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data

With Microsoft and Oracle already trying to win legal battles against the Android operating system. If the infringements are upheld it could force HTC and other manufacturers to remove some functionality in order to continue integrating the Android O/S in their mobile devices including smart phones and tablets.

Larry Page shows immaturity related to legal issues

With Google laying claim to some 700 patents, mainly relating to products rather than wireless software, a bid for Nortel’s 6000+ patents related to Telecoms and mobile communications, was seen as a move to ensure that future legal battles were nipped in the bud early, unfortunately most of the wholesale sale of these patents were snapped up by Apple and Microsoft.

When questioned about the large issues surrounding Android Larry Page the co founder of Google, was seen to dodge the main issue and boats about the number of devices that were being activated on a daily basis (around 500,000+ per day) and was found to suggest that they could develop patents as a natural growth of the Android O/S and would not need to buy or earn any mobile software patents, a very dangerous and seemingly naive standpoint considering the relative maturity in tech terms of the mobile phone software market, and the stakes resting on their own Android O/S with its lack of original patents.

Battle of the Giants on the cards?

However successful HTC has been in the last 14 years, it is shadowed by the might of a player such as Apple or Google, and with Apple going for the blood line of Android, its manufacturing base, with litigation against Motorola, Samsung and now HTC. Could the mobile world be squaring up for an eventual stab at the jugular of Google and Android once its manufacturing partners have been disarmed or wounded and perhaps see the likes of Google, Microsoft, Oracle and Nokia and others all enter the fray?

With the first round won by Apple, Microsoft and Oracle will likely be spurned on to continue their own patent claims in the hope that things could be swinging their way.

Could Windows Phone O/S benefit hugely from this insecurity from a manufacturing point of view?

Could a potential decline in the Android O/S due to concerns over its legal position lead to a very fortuitous position for the recent Nokia and Microsoft partnership and the future of Windows phone 7 O/S and Meego.

Anthony Munns