A surprise agreement emerged over the weekend, that put a number of patent issues to rest between Apple and HTC. The agreement resolves all of their patent disputes worldwide and sets up a 10-year patent licensing arrangement.
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.
What it means to the ongoing Apple vs Samsung lawsuits remains to be seen, but it does indicate that Apple is willing to come to an agreement in similar circumstances. The Apple vs HTC battle has been going on since 2010 as Apple had tried to stop HTC phones from being sold in the US based on patent issues. HTC worked through those issues and later implemented workarounds on recent smartphones to get the bans lifted and their phones on the market.
It could also mean Apple has made this deal once and was willing to deal as long as it wasn’t Samsung, it depends on how bitter that battle really is below the surface. Apple already has one significant victory in their pocket against Samsung, and they are hardly in a position where they need to let up. Steve Jobs is famously reported to have said:
“I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”
“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong.”
He was of course referring to the iPhone and iOS. This may indicate a shift from that mission however, and is more likely just the right opportunity for Apple to focus on what they have always claimed–innovating.