Taiwanese phone maker HTC has said that it’s willing to talk things out with Apple over the two companies’ recent patent spat, Reuters reports.
“We are open to all sorts of solutions, as long as the solution and the terms are fair and reasonable,” HTC CFO Winston Yung told Reuters in an interview. “On and off we’ve had discussions with Apple, even before the initial determination came out.”
The news comes after Apple scored a significant patent victory over HTC from the U.S. International Trade Commission two weeks ago. The victory could ultimately force HTC to stop selling Android phones in the US, and could potentially be applied to Android phones from other manufacturers (in a worst case scenario). HTC has said it will appeal the decision, but we won’t know the full outcome until the end of the year.
Earlier this month, HTC acquired S3 Graphics for $300 million, giving it access to S3’s technology and significant patent portfolio. S3 also scored an ITC patent win of its own over Apple just a week before HTC announced its intentions to purchase the graphics company. But just like Apple’s win over HTC, the S3 ruling is subject to review.
HTC is already paying licensing fees to Microsoft for every Android phone it sells, a strategy that seems to be paying off quite well for Microsoft. Paying out additional fees to Apple could end up being a major hit to HTC’s revenues, but it’s certainly better than some alternative outcomes.
Google, not surprisingly, has little patience for these escalating smartphone patent wars. “The tech industry has a significant problem,” Google general counsel Kent Walker told Reuters. “Software patents are kind of gumming up the works of innovation.”
“Each side can blow the other up on some level — everybody can block the other’s products from coming to market,” he said. “You create this mutually assured destruction scenario, but it’s very expensive to get all those munitions.”
Walker went on to say that “it’s not good form” to acquire patents just to disarm competitors. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt also expressed frustration last week over Apple’s pursuit of lawsuits instead of innovation.
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