Aaron's not able to write this weekend's poll, because he's too busy being a dad to his newborn son! He'll be back soon, and we all wish him the very best.

This is the latest in our Weekend Poll series. For last week's, see Will You Use The Google Wallet Physical Card?

Last night, HTC and Apple issued a joint press release indicating the two companies have settled their ongoing patent slapfight. Under a confidential, 10-year licensing arrangement, they have agreed to what essentially amounts to a rigid patent ceasefire. Even future patents are covered under the deal (there obviously will be exceptions to any deal, but that's the gist).

The exact reasons for this sudden change of heart by both sides (both HTC and Apple have recently been quite vocal about their unwillingness to compromise) will probably remain a mystery for years, unless someone really goofs up and leaks that information out. What we do know is that it was a surprise. Whether you had told me yesterday, three months ago, or last year that a settlement was around the corner, I would have been extremely skeptical.

It's been rather easy to be pessimistic about Android and Apple's legal wranglings over the last year-plus, too. Numerous devices have been slapped with absurd injunctions, a billion dollar verdict was handed down, and many passive aggressive statements from the parties involved are traded with each new filing.

So, is a 10-year peace deal between Apple and HTC a sign that the worst is finally behind us? Are more deals like this just a matter of time? Make your thoughts known - you know the drill.

Is HTC/Apple's truce evidence that the mobile patent wars are finally losing steam?

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David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • http://silverfang77.tumblr.com/ Silver Fang

    The proof will be in the pudding in the coming months.

    • Al McDowall

      No, it won't. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. So, the proof of the pudding will be seen in the coming months.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1559995258 Alec Smith

    I don't think this will wind down the war between Samsung and apple. I don't know the details of the claims against HTC from apple, but I never saw much in terms of copycat that HTC did towards apple. HTC always had some unique designs. On the other hand, I can see clear areas where Samsung has a lot of products that have some resemblance to the iPhone and as long as Apple thinks that Samsung continues to come out with phones and features copying their design, I don't think it will stop.

  • Guest

    Theres no way apple would have agreed to a license deal unless it was coming out way on top.

    Wish there were more details, but I'm leaning on this being bad for an already down and out HTC

    • http://twitter.com/misterE33 Mr E

      can't help but think the same thing. HTC would've had to have some killer ammo to get an edge on Apple.

      I'm guessing this has at least a little to do with HTC not really being eager or able to put up a fight in court, or absorb a billion-dollar ruling like Samsung.

  • coversnails

    It all really depends who 'won' in this deal. If it means that HTC have to pay Apple a licensing fee for every Android phone that they sell then the patent wars are definitley not over. Apple will see that if they hound a company enough they can get money for every phone their competitors sell.

    If HTC had Apple over a barrel with some patent than it's good for HTC as they'll have the Apple lawyers off their backs for a while, it won't stop Apple goibg after other companies though.

  • coversnails

    I dont see why the 'no' option has to have a reference to WP8. I dont think the patwnt wars are over but equally i dont think this settlement has anything to do with HTC concentrating on WP8 whose sales are still mediocre.

    • Bakaouji

      Agreed. Stupid poll, didn't end up voting.

      • DCMAKER


  • Stephen Kopenkoskey

    The thing that has me wondering is why these phone companies are settling on Android instead of Google. I love Android, but other people should not be making truces for Google's OS.

    • lynx

      Apple is not stupid enough to take on Google directly, so it picks on the phone companies. Google has to pick and choose how they enter these battles or they come off looking just as bad as Apple. If Apple went after Google directly, it would give Google free reign to come out swinging the big guns.

  • Petr Plachý

    Beautiful peace! It's not the best version piece...

  • HellG

    It just got worse! apple won and HTC paid them shitload of cash and I'm sure samsung wont be a chicken like HTC and will keep fighting these ridiculous so called "patents" or i will be leaving it to another company! i refuse to give my money in-directly to apple!

    • Chris

      HTC does not have the funds to keep fighting. They did the right thing.

      • HellG

        dude, its Apple we are talking about! it wont accept to get in such agreement if it didnt get HUGE amount of money! I'm certain that this amount of money would be enough for many law suits...

    • ScottColbert

      You have no idea what HTC agreed to, so stfu with your nonsense.

      • HellG

        Mad HTC fanboy i believe? go check Microsoft invisting millions of dollar in apple for similar agreement in the 90's and that was when apple was an underdog and Microsoft was the big dog oh and at the time Microsoft won a case over these patents anyway "GUI" patents anyone, so you STFU and shove that HTC One X Up your A$$ :)

      • HellG
  • Chris

    Good news.

  • TechGuy21

    they settled because HTC is losing marketshare and its not a big threat to them. they wont settle with sammy because its their biggest competitor. dont expect any settlement from apple and sammy anytime soon

    • Franky

      Exactly my thoughts.

      Another point: What if this is part of a larger deal to join (patent) forces and go after Samsung - as it is a competitor to both? Could this be a a strategic move to play one android-manufacturer against the other?

      Sounds unlikely, but Apple has really pushed my sense for absurdity the last few years. See what that did to my mind.... I'm a paranoid now. Hopefully.

  • AndroidLover

    The patent war is far from over. Keep in mind that Apple and
    Microsoft want to annihilate the Android machine because they see android as a major
    threat to their existence. That being said, the deal with HTC is simply
    brilliant strategy from Apple. Going forward Apple will target the smaller
    companies like HTC and settle with them with exorbitant licensing deals. As a
    result most of them will steer away from Android for other operating system
    because of the high licensing fees associated with Android. Apple and Microsoft
    will benefit from the whole situation because they know that these companies
    will not survive without significant market share. The patent war has just
    taken another turn.

  • http://twitter.com/MysteryMannnnn Mystery Man

    No, this just shows HTC cannot afford to have patent wars when it can't even sell a phone to begin with

  • http://twitter.com/PCSievers P.C. Sievers

    Doesnt Microsoft have an agreement with HTC that gets them $5 for every phone sold, something which was and may still be more profitable for them than their entire windows phone endeavour. Probably unrelated but worth noting.

    I would bet that Apple vs Samsung wont end for a long time, if ever. HTC has never chased Apple's "ideas" as much as Samsung in the eyes of Apple and they genuinely seem to hate them. This may be a case of HTC throwing in the towel because they cant afford to keep fighting but Apple has talked about disengaging with some of these lawsuits and they have to know it is harming their brand to keep fighting like this.

    Show me more examples and we shall see if this is an end of the book or the end of just one chapter.

  • Simon Belmont

    Meh, just because one settlement happened doesn't mean the patent wars are winding down at all. It's basically an outlier at best.

    Now, if I start seeing a trend of settlements or cases being withdrawn, that might signal something. Until then, no.

  • http://twitter.com/2funjags john wick

    Not with Apple, bunch of arrogant pricks!

  • andrew__des_moines

    Apple has plenty of cash to burn on lawyers -- not so much HTC. This is another side effect of Koh's bias and the patent office's ineptitude -- combined with their cash, Apple can freely force competitors to bend over to their will.

  • Zaeem Shahzad

    Aaron, congratulations from a complete stranger!!!!!! :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/archercc Ryan Stewart

    I think its reflective of reality. Apple, which wanted the thermonuclear option under Jobs, has only the one real feather to hang in its cap in Koh's court and everything about that case is being called into question. Everywhere else the suits are failing and they are probably using up a lot of good will abroad so its not like they are going to find more favorable courts.

    Apple is realizing that they cant stem the flow of Android devices and figure they might as well get in on the free money before patents are invalidated or a negative precedent is set and their IP loses value. HTC, on the flip side, is probably willing to make a deal with the devil just to be able to have some consistency. They can budget and plan and know how much in fees they will plan as opposed to a surprise expense like a judgement or legal battle.

    I would also suspect that Apple's licensing demands had to come way down into reasonable territory, previously it was reported that it was pretty prohibitive.