Apple has shut down one front in its legal war against Android, Google’s mobile operating system. But a wider truce in the patent battles engulfing the mobile industry is likely still a ways off.
Apple and HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone maker, over the weekend announced they had agreed to dismiss a series of lawsuits against each other, a feud that started more than two years ago when Apple accused HTC of improperly copying the iPhone. The companies said their settlement includes a 10-year license agreement that grants rights to current and future patents held by both parties.
The deal was the first settlement between Apple and a maker of devices that use Android. Other patent lawsuits continue around the globe, including far more significant ones between Apple and Samsung.
Apple’s settlement of an Android-related lawsuit could be interpreted as a sign that Apple CEO Tim Cook is eager to end the distraction and risks of patent fights.
“It’s the first major sign of a stand-down we’ve seen in the smartphone wars,” said Christopher V. Carani, a patent lawyer with McAndrews Held & Malloy in Chicago.
Carani, though, cautioned against reading the HTC settlement too deeply as a sign that Apple will settle its legal fight with Samsung, a dispute that he believes involves more important patents.