Apple and HTC have reached agreement on a ten-year licensing agreement that covers all current and future patents. Both sides refused to comment on the terms of the agreement although HTC added that the deal would have no significant impact on the company. The CEO's of both firms, HTC's Peter Chou and Apple's Tim Cook, both stressed the desire to continue innovating for the future.
HTC recently had lost some battles against Apple in court including a ruling made last year by the U.S. ITC that the Apple iPhone and Apple iPad did not infringe on HTC patents. The Taiwan based handset manufacturer even made a $300 million purchase of S3 Graphics in 2011 with the hope that the latter's patents could help it on both the offense and defense against Apple. However, the ITC ruled that HTC's devices infringed on Apple's products.
HTC joins Nokia as the only two handset manufacturers to have entered into a global licensing deal with Apple. In June 2011, Apple and Nokia shook hands on an agreement that paid Nokia a one-time lump sum which remains confidential along with the amount of royalty payments that Nokia receives.
The main question is, where does Apple go from here? With one of the major Android producers on board, will Apple now target Samsung for a similar deal? Both firms are entrenched in litigation around the globe and on December 6th, Judge Lucy Koh will hold hearings on Apple's request for a permanent injunction on Samsung devices that a jury ruled had infringed on the Cupertino based firm's patents. At the same time, Apple is seeking to triple parts of the $1.05 billion jury award it won. Samsung seeks to throw out the verdict, claiming that the jury foreman lied by omission, and is asking for a new trial. During the trial, Judge Koh requested high-level talks between Apple and Samsung and nothing came of it.
It would be great if the industry's version of the Hatfield and McCoys could reach a deal to allow peace to break out in the wireless world, but when it comes to Apple and Samsung, we wouldn't hold our breath.