Apple and HTC reach global settlement on patent litigation

So this is huge. Apple and HTC have both announced this evening that they have reached a global settlement on all patent litigation, effectively dismissing all patent-related lawsuits between the two companies. Additionally, the two handset-makers have also agreed to a 10 year cross-licensing deal for all current and future patents…

Here’s the joint release from the two sides:

“HTC and Apple® have reached a global settlement that includes the dismissal of all current lawsuits and a ten-year license agreement. The license extends to current and future patents held by both parties. The terms of the settlement are confidential.

“HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC.

“We are glad to have reached a settlement with HTC,” said Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. “We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation.”

We’ve known for a while now that the two companies were in discussions to resolve their patent war. According to a court filing from Apple that surfaced back in September, it first met with HTC back on August 13 to discuss a potential resolution to their patent disputes. And a second meeting between the two happened shortly after.

Apple’s patent war with Samsung certainly gets the most press coverage, but its battle with HTC is nothing to scoff at. The two companies were tangled in a number of lawsuits around the world as well as several ITC complaints. Last December, Apple won an ITC case against HTC here in the US that resulted in a product ban.

Interestingly enough, HTC spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 million last summer buying S3 Graphics Co., an American-based computer graphics company, shortly after it won a patent suit against Apple involving its compression tech. Needless to say, S3 has a healthy IP portfolio, and that could have very well played a part in this deal.

Still, the fact that the two firms have agreed to not only a settlement on current litigation, but a 10-year cross-licensing deal is huge — especially for Apple. The Cupertino-based company lodged its first patent suit against HTC, it’s first against any Android manufacturer, back in 2010 over multi-touch support.

Either way it’s great news. And hopefully we’ll see more deals like this follow suit.