Patent wars are nothing new. Traditionally, one big company would sue a second big company. Often, this second company would countersue the first company and in the end, everything is settled with a bunch of cross-licensed patents. As anyone who follows the news knows, that hasn’t been happening.
Apple has been pursuing Samsung the most heavily, going so far as to getting many of its current mobile devices barred from sale in certain regions, most notably from the strong economy of Germany. Samsung has unsurprisingly countersued the computer giant, claiming that products such as the iPhone and the iPad both are infringing upon patents held by the manufacturer.
VIA has brought the game to Apple’s home turf with its most recent suit. The Taiwanese CPU maker has alleged that Apple is willfully infringing upon some of its patents, with offending products found in the iPhone, iPad, iPad, Apple TV and even in the iOS software running on top of all of them. Papers were filed in both an American court as well as the US International Trade Commission.
Experts are saying that the suit is likely a result of troubles between Apple and HTC, one of the more successful smartphone companies. HTC is another Taiwanese technology company and currently produces phones running both Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platforms. A key point is that HTC’s co-founder and chairwomen, Cher Wang, is married to VIA’s CEO Wen-Chi Chen. According to the BBC, Chen remarked that VIA is “determined to protect our interests and the interests of our stockholders.”
Looking at a chart of all the connections made as a result of various patent lawsuits feels almost incestuous.
VIA’s case is reportedly looking more and more cut and dried; the result will likely be that Apple ponies up the licensing fees and simply settles the case out of court (they wouldn’t be the first company to do so with regards to these patents). The question remains, however, how successful the Cupertino-based company will be in defending itself against other patent lawsuits, which it is currently fighting on three different continents.