HTC doesnt own the S3 graphics patents it used to sue Apple

first_imgFew tech topics lead to as much collective groaning as patent spats, and few companies are involved in them more publicly than Apple. Earlier this year, HTC decided to launch an attack on Apple to the tune of $300 million dollars — using graphics patents that it now turns out they might not even own.Yes, really.It all started back in 2010 when Apple sued HTC for infringing 20 of its patents. HTC vowed to defend itself vigorously, and Microsoft gave Apple a fistbump of support — which isn’t nearly as surprising as you might think, since Microsoft took HTC to task over patent issues itself. HTC then countersued Apple and sought additional protection by buddying up with one of the industry’s most notorious patent trolls.Then, back in July, HTC acquired graphics stalwart S3. While not quite the household name that either AMD or Nvidia are, S3 developed some truly groundbreaking graphics tech. In fact, the texture compression S3 developed was licensed by Microsoft for DirectX on Windows and both Sony and Nintendo for their gaming consoles.What motivated the HTC purchase? Matthew mused that it might be stockpiling ammo for another counter-assault on Apple. That turned out to be the case, but according to AMD the patents HTC used to file the new suit aren’t even theirs to use. AMD claims that ATI purchased the patents from S3 “years ago” and can provide the complete ownership history.If that’s true, the only way HTC could still use the previously-S3-owned patents to attack Apple would be with AMD’s blessing — and that’s not going to happen. AMD has no intentions of suing one of its best customers, says the company. So once again HTC appears to be on shaky ground with Apple, but as we’ve seen before, in this case there’s always time for one more twist.More at Roughly Drafted and FOSS Patentslast_img

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