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November 20, 2012

HTC slams “outrageous” Apple settlement claims

Patent dispute finally over but HTC is "happy" with outcome, says CEO

By Steve Evans

Taiwanese phone maker HTC has said it is happy with the settlement reached with Apple in their long-running patent dispute and slammed suggestions that it will be paying Apple up to $8 per Android phone it sells.

Reports had suggested that as part of the settlement, HTC would be paying Apple $6 – $8 per Android phone it sells, but CEO Peter Chou rubbished those claims.

"I think that these estimates are baseless and very, very wrong. It is an outrageous number, but I’m not going to comment anything on a specific number," he told reporters. "I believe we have a very, very happy settlement and a good ending."

The two smartphone giants recently reached a settlement that saw them sign a 10-year licensing agreement. The dispute kicked off back in 2010 when Apple sued HTC over its Android smartphones, before turning its attention to the likes of Samsung and Google via Motorola Mobility.

Patent wars in the mobile space have dominated headlines for months now. Recently a court in the US backed Apple’s claims of copyright infringement against Samsung, awarded the iPhone maker $1.05bn in damages. The dispute was over Samsung’s Galaxy range of smartphones and tablets.

However the same claims were rejected in a UK court, where Apple was forced to publicly say that Samsung had not copied its design.

A statement duly appeared on Apple’s website, but the judge in the case ordered it to be reworded after the company detailed all the different geographies where the courts had found in its favour, as well as positive comments from the judge on the iPad’s design.

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HTC has been struggling on late, with revenue and profit falling as customers switch to devices from the likes of Apple and Samsung. The company’s most recent quarter revealed a 48% decline in revenues to T$70.2bn ($2.4bn) and a 79% slump in profits for the quarter to T$3.9bn ($132.4m).

The company recently announced two new smartphones powered by Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 operating system, which will put the firm in direct competition with Nokia, another struggling mobile firm.

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