A judge in London has ruled that HTC phones don’t infringe upon Apple’s prized smartphone patents, Bloomberg reported this morning. The ruling includes Apple’s patented slide-to-unlock feature which famously drew the most ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ at the original iPhone introduction five years ago, but also other features such as flipping through a bunch of photos…

Author Kit Chellel writes:

HTC’s devices don’t infringe four Apple patents for touchscreen technology and three of those patents are invalid, Judge Christopher Floyd said today.

The four patents in question cover user interface features popularized by the iPhone: slide-to-unlock, the photo gallery page-flipping, changing alphabets and detecting multi-fingered touches. Apple successfully used the slide-to-unlock patent in its lawsuit against the Galaxy Nexus device.

HTC and Apple are scheduled to battle it out on the same four patents in Germany later this year. So far, Android has been found to be infringing upon a total of eleven Apple patents.

HTC commented:

We remain disappointed that Apple continues to favor competition in the courtroom over competition in the marketplace.

A spokesperson for Apple issued the following statement:

Competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.

This comes as a blow to Apple after a recent streak of wins that saw Cupertino secure a ban on the sale of Google’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone and Galaxy Tab tablet in the United States.

Patent expert Florian Müeller expects the UK ruling to have “very limited relevance in the United States, but it will have some relevance in other European countries and in Australia”, adding:

In the short term, this means HTC has nothing to fear in Europe (unless Apple wins a preliminary injunction somewhere), but the Apple-HTC dispute will continue, and Apple will find new patents to assert.

Bloomberg also reported yesterday that the U.S. International Trade Commission denied Apple’s emergency request to temporary detain all shipments of 29 different HTC devices at the U.S. border, including the EVO 4G LTE and the flagship One X smartphone.

Today’s ruling begs the question whether Google helped HTC dodge the four Apple patents.

It’s worth remembering that Google openly admitted to supporting HTC in its legal dealings with Apple. Furthermore, Samsung also confirmed it is getting help from Google as the two technology giants aim to create a strong opposition to Apple in the hope of forcing a cross-licensing agreement upon Cupertino.

Today’s decision might easily spell trouble for Apple’s legal fight against other Android backers, namely Samsung and Motorola. At the least, the ruling just knocked out Apple’s patents over in the U.K.

What do you guys think?

Should Apple agree to a cross-licensing agreement with Google like it’d done with Nokia?

  • Really hate Apple for banning awesome devices for such a stupid thing. Proves they’re afraid of the competition, they wouldn’t do this if they were #1 in the market.

  • Kok Hean

    Just license out the patents and you won’t look so bad, Apple.

  • It’s funny because to beat Apple, they all need to join forces. And for those who saying that Apple is afraid of competition, are you f..king nuts? Copy is not competition, neither is innovation. Healthy and fair competition is when they work hard to give us different tastes and we, the consumers, make the options. I don’t hit hard on HTC because beside a few things, they are original, and make great devices. In other hand, brands like Samsung are the shame of technology in matter of copying almost everything.

    PS. If they want to beat Apple, be original and make some innovations that will make Apple jealous because they can’t use it… THAT’S COMPETITION!

    • LUFC_MOT

      Are you retarded? You sound it !! … Don’t talk about stuff you clearly know nothing about. Apple don’t copy, ye right, what about the notification centre? just one of many things that has been on Android for years yet as soon as Apple introduce it it isn’t copying … You’re just a hypacrite, like most Apple fanboys who live in denial.

      • I sound like a retard only for Fandroids like you, but the retard here, it’s you, and not because you are a fandroid but because you are actually a retarded that can’t stand the facts and enter in a conversation being offensive… notification center already exist much before Android was introduced to public. On Cydia. And even if Apple copied from Android, can you compare like 1 or 2 features against the thousand that Android (and specially Samsung) already copied from Apple? You fandroids can’t stand the fact that if wasn’t Apple, you probably had a Android copying the Blackberry… like he was ment to be at the first place. Your retarded mind can’t change the facts, so deal with it.

        Google, if you own the Notification Center like this retarded think, sue Apple…

      • Name of the notification center Cydia tweak, please? I’m having a hard time believing you when you say that notification center appeared on Cydia long before it came to Android, because Cydia was released in February 2008, and Android came out 6 months later.
        And what are those “thousands” of stolen features you mention? Name ten, please. Thank you.

      • Really? only to fandroids? You accuse of being a fanboy like its a bad thing when you clearly have your finger shoved up a 4s’ tight little azzhole. And those, thousands of copies?? As said in tr1ptr0p’s comment: name 10. Most of apple’s innovations were actually copied from the work of cydia devs, LockInfo, Sport info for siri, assistant extensions (launch apps) Folders (sort of) Notification centre, the camera shortcut in 5.0.0/5.0.1 So dont acuse other companies of copying apples so called innovations which are copied themselves.

        People like you annoy me, stop gorging over apple’s oh so nice products, grow up and acknowledge that apple are playing like spoiled kids.

      • Comment repeated. Moderator, Delete this one please.

      • Actually I’ve not only named a few, but also gave some links, but
        somehow comment was not approved, but hey, Google is your friend (and
        common knowledge too). To end this conversation, the point is that.. if all fandroid were
        happy with their devices, they didn’t visit so many times the apple
        blogs and websites and probably weren’t so offensive. Angry all the
        time, obviously you guys are not happy at all…

        Spoiled kids? lol… I work my friend. That’s why I can choose my
        devices and not the ones that my parents could give it to me. That’s why you have
        an Android device and not an iPhone. Because you are a jealous kid who can’t stand the fact that others can have a iPhone and you don’t. Peace. Quality > Quantity.

    • Who has joined forces? All I can see is Apple pulling lawsuits everywhere they turn. That actually makes Apple the desperate and pathetic one, trying to block their competition, instead of innovating and implementing new features to their devices.
      “Don’t be stupid. This has nothing to do with protecting patents, and everything to do with killing competition. The similarities between these devices are marginal, at best. Copyright and patent wars are nothing more than a money-spinner, hence the reason Google bought Motorola Mobility. […] Apple are hardly going to win people over to their side by preventing consumers from buying from their competitors.” – Dave Cullen (/watch?v=dWk5THT5y-M)

  • Kurt Lewis

    when apple loses, i smile…end the patent wars apple

  • SimonReidy

    Dear Apple,

    Sucked in. My Grandad had a ‘slide to unlock’ bolt on his back gate well before you invented it.

    As much as I love your products, I’ve lost count of the amount of good ideas Apple has bought out or stolen over the years. Your hypocrisy in the courtroom is astounding.

    Love from a loyal jailbroken iOS user.

    • lol to your comment. on software, patents are from how they are build (coded, behavior, designed, etc..) and not what they do… it’s all the process and not comparable to the “real slide to unlock/lock”.

      • Double lol to _your_ comment. Apple needs to get out of the courtroom and back to the lab. I’ve owned a Galaxy S III for a week now and I can say now without prejudice, Apple is so far behind the curve, it’s embarrassing.
        The fanboys need to take off their brushed-metal framed rose-tinted glasses and smell the coffee. Don’t mistaken the gasp you hear behind you as fanboy admiration of a new iOS feature, it is in fact Android, catching it’s breath, as it laps you.

      • ^ this

      • SimonReidy

        Yeah, I realize that. My comment was facetious. I just hate it how such fundamentally basic features and lines of code can be patented or more to the point, that Apple feels the need to spend millions on court cases to protect such arbitrary features like turning a link in a text into a clickable URL. Such nonsense.

        And for the people that down voted me, get a sense of humour, or get your head old of Apple’s arse. If you’re not embarrassed and ashamed by Apple’s relentless attacks on the competition, then you’re missing the bigger picture.

        Apple blocking devices from being sold is terrible for both Apple and the consumer. It makes Apple look petty and afraid of the competition.

        It’s about time they started to innovate, not litigate to win the consumer’s mind, becuase at the moment they are shedding a lot of fans to Android. This time last year all my mates had an iPhone 4. Now most of them have an SGS3, an HTC OneX or a Galaxy Nexus.

        If Apple don’t blow me away with the next iPhone I might be forced to join them. As quite honestly iOs6 is Apple’s most uninspired OS upgrade yet.

        When it comes to tablets it’s another matter. The iPad is still king, but maybe not for long with the Surface and Nexus 7 on the way.

        I really want Apple to prevail as I have a lot of money and time invested in iOS and the jailbreak scene, but I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks they need to lift their game with the iPhone.

      • Nicely put.

  • If Apple really wanted to open a HUGE cashflow, they’d just license out these patents they have. I don’t believe that all the patents they have should be valid (changing alphabets, really?), but the ones that are true innovations, just license them out. They’d see their profits skyrocket, and wouldn’t have so many lawsuits.

  • Just an opinion: Would LOVE if everytime Apple lost à trial, to give discount to their products outdo side the US :), but seriously, this patent thingy… Can’t hear them anymore, am Tired of copycats surviving/dying because they could t come up of something, that says “it’s ours” :/

  • insp1112

    I don’t mind if google copied the feature of iOS or apple copied the feature of Android. Every company copy each other’s feature.

    But if you have to copy the original’s feature, you have to use different method and patent!!! If google(apple) used one of apple(google) ‘s feature idea , I wouldn’t mind. It might be non revolutionary, but it will be a smart move.

    But if google or apple copies other’s feature by using other’s patent illegally, they will be just theives

  • Dude, can we just let Android and Apple do the fighting.

  • That video is probably the most crap fandroid creation I’ve ever saw.. lol… like someone said, getting 3rd party addons from the community and giving credit to Google. Get your facts straight at least. In so many features, the only one that are in fact built in on Android is the notification center… that is the huge problem. everybody makes some untested, crappy addon, with no taste of design or simplicity on Android and call it “feature”.

    Quality > Quantity. It’s the thing that almost every Apple user knows.

    To close this, just remember:
    Android = Blackberry… Eric Schmidt from Apple to Google. Android = Multi-touch.
    Eric Schmidt was invited to leave Apple for sharing the unreleased ideas of Apple, with Google.

    The rest is history….

    • I thought I was pretty clear.
      “It is one thing to point out how Apple took ideas from others and improved upon them, which to some extent I agree with. (Though, it still makes them hypocrites when it comes to all those lawsuits they started.) But it is completely different to spout out bullshit how Apple is the true, one and only innovator and everyone else are thieves.”

      • The thing is, everybody owns the right to protect their copyrights, doesn’t matter if it’s Apple, Google or even a single person who invented something. And like I said in so many commentaries, if someone think… or better, HAVE SURE that Apple is copying or stealing ideas, sue them. It’s fair. And should be done, like it was in so many cases.. (apple is not the only one who sue other companies). It’s good for innovation because Apple will want some ideas (they don’t own the whole great ideas) and other will want things that Apple invented, so, they can make some deals and instead of copy, if both agree, they can trade patents. It’s much more fair than just copy without any respect at all, like Samsung does, for example. I like Apple, and I think it’s the most innovative company out there, but im not blind, I know that they don’t own all the reason… that’s why I think the court should keep everything balanced and fair to anyone who owns the reason. Many features that iOS adopted if they were from Android/Google, they probably will got sued. If Google didn’t make any move about that… it’s because they don’t own the right to do it. And I thing that everybody knows that Google are trying to get everything to fight Apple, that’s why they bought Motorola.