A redacted version of the HTC-Apple patent licensing agreement was published in the public record today as part of the Samsung v. Apple trial, and AllThingsD has a copy. It's 143 pages long (to be fair, only about a fifth of that is the actual settlement), so let me give you the skinny.
First, what has HTC agreed to? Well, it's actually not super complicated to distill down: basically, HTC can use Apple's functional software patents under the license, except those covered under an "anti-cloning" rule and which are part of the "distinct Apple user experience" - unless those features are part of the core Android OS that HTC does not control. Read More
HTC CEO Peter Chou has come out swinging against allegations that HTC is paying "$6-8 per handset" in royalties to Apple, calling the estimates "outrageous." Of course, those estimate were indeed just estimates, and they were also commented upon by HTC insiders at the time as being a little on the high side.
So, what do we take from Mr. Chou's statement? HTC is probably paying a royalty, but a $6-8 royalty (that's about 1-1.5% on a $600-800 smartphone)? Probably not. Who knows, it could be $3-5! Which, admittedly, would mean slashing the financial impact of the deal on HTC's coffers by up to half. Read More
On Saturday evening, HTC and Apple issued a joint press release indicating the two companies had settled their ongoing legal 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).
Immediately, most people assumed HTC was getting hosed. Then, HTC rep Jeff Gordon issued a slightly cryptic but factually vital statement, saying HTC "does not expect this license agreement to have any adverse material impact on the financials of the company."
Now, whether that means the cost of the license and the savings of not keeping 300 attorneys on retainer will cancel out, or if the settlement basically cost HTC nothing, is not clear. Read More