Patents Attack 2: Google's Revenge

HTC, a Taiwanese manufacturer, makes it money on low cost - high volume production. Kind of similar to Foxxconn, the Chinese company that makes the iPad and the Kindle. The difference is that HTC sells its wares under its own brand name. And with help from Google Android , this little company, has suddenly became one of the largest smart phone manufacturers in the world. In the past two years, HTC unseated more powerful rivals like RIMM and Nokia.

But HTC has a problem. It doens't really invest in research or development. So, it has very few mobile patents. When the HTC-Android combination started to threaten Apple's iPhone, Apple sued the bejesus out of it.

But HTC has a friend in Google.

Yesterday, using nine patents that HTC bought from Google, HTC sued Apple for infringement.

"That's a bit of a game-changer," Will Stofega, a technology analyst at Framingham, Massachusetts-based IDC told Bloomberg. "Google was interested in protecting its licensees with Android. It shows they need to support their customers in order to make sure the customers stick with them."

HTC has also agreed to buy S3 graphics after that company won a preliminary patent case against Apple.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

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