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Apple countersued by HTC over two recently-purchased HP patents

It was reported on Tuesday that HTC is bringing counterclaims against Apple over two HP patents the Taiwanese smartphone maker recently acquired to help fight its legal battle with the Cupertino tech giant.

In a defensive move FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller called "deny-everything-and-throw-in-the-kitchen-sink," HTC brought two patent infringement counterclaims against Apple as part of the two companies' ongoing litigation in the Southern District of Florida.

The countersuits are being issued in a Motorola v. Apple case initiated in 2010 that spilled over to be consolidated with separate litigation in the same district involving HTC. Six of Apple's twelve claims in the case involve HTC.

The two patents being asserted by HTC:

  • U.S. Patent No. 7,571,221 for "installation of network services in an embedded network server" From the abstract: Various systems and methods are provided for maintaining an embedded network server. In one embodiment, one method includes the steps of providing a dynamic service loader in the embedded network server, receiving a service request to install a dynamic service in the embedded network server, and installing the dynamic service in the embedded network server with the dynamic service loader. HTC claims Apple infringes this patent with devices "including but not limited to personal computers (such as the Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Mini), mobile communications devices (such as the iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S), and mobile computing devices (such as the iPod Touch, iPad, iPad 2, the new iPad)".
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,120,684 for a "method and system for central management of a computer network" From the abstract: A method and system for central management of plural network clients interfaced with a network host, each network client automatically calling a login routine (20) and a start-up routine (22) associated with initiation of a login script at the network client. Configuration and start-up management can be based upon an operating system determination with several different operating systems, such as Windows 95 and Windows NT, deployed across the network. HTC claims Apple infringes this patent with "Apple Remote Desktop, Apple Profile Manager, and/or products and services that use Apple Remote Desktop and Apple Profile Manager".

While the Taiwanese firm is still looking to move the patent infringement case out of the Florida to what it perceives to be a more advantageous venue, HTC had to respond to Apple's own counterclaims.

HTC's flagship HTC One X smartphone. | Source: HTC

Mueller claims that HTC is on the prowl for patents it can acquire to leverage against Apple and sees HP as a company with intellectual property to spare. He goes on to say that there doesn't seem to be any strategic advantage for HP to be helping HTC in selling patents destined to be used against the Cupertino company.

Most recently HTC abandoned its U.S. International Trade Commission appeal over a dismissed lawsuit against Apple while a second ITC suit was challenged by the iPhone maker on claims of FRAND patent abuse. Apple went further and alleged that HTC dodged an injunction against certain handsets by making purposeful "misstatements" to U.S. Customs officials.

The once-large phone maker has fallen on tough times as evidenced by the company's announcement that it would be pulling out of the burgeoning Brazilian market after suffering poor sales performance in the region.