Before today, the legal battle between Apple and HTC was beginning to look more like the few seconds right before Ivan Drago punched Apollo Creed to death in Rocky IV. Apple already had 2 of the patents it filed in 2010 upheld by an International Trade Commission Administrative Law Judge. The patents, which appeared to be fundamental not just to HTC’s phones but Android itself, was on track for a final Commission decision by the end of the year. Apple also has other ITC complaints, as well as a couple of Federal lawsuits filed for good measure.
But look who showed up to the party! A month after their Chief Legal Officer bawled about how evil patents are, none other than Google has apparently just sold a number of patents to HTC, patents which are now being leveled in a countersuit against Apple. Are these the patents Google obtained with the creation of Android – through the innovative crafting of a bold new mobile OS? Of course not. They’re patents that have been passed around more than herpes at Burning Man, cobbled together for the express purpose of attempting to bail HTC’s sorry ass out of the fryer for using Google’s iOS knock-off.
I have zero doubt that Google will present this as a counterpunch to Apple’s litigious assault on Android. That would explain why all of Apple’s patents are filed by them, whereas the trail of Google’s relationship to its IP reads like my relationship to George Washington.
Speaking of patchy, hasn’t there been a patent troll threatening the livelihood of Android developers for like a year? Guess the calvary only arrives for the companies with the resources. Developers would do well to remember that the next time they think of porting their next iOS hit app to Android.