HTC has filed counterclaims against Apple over two patents the Taiwanese handset maker recently acquired from Hewlett-Packard to apparently beef up its legal muscle in its patent fight with the iPhone maker.
HTC filed its two patent infringement counterclaims today in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleging that a wide array of Apple products infringe on patents related to network services and management that HTC acquired in December from HP.
The two patents asserted in HTC's counterclaims, according to Foss Patents:
- U.S. Patent No. 7,571,221 for "installation of network services in an embedded network server"
HTC claims that Apple is infringing on this patent, which HP applied for in 2002, with devices "including but not limited to personal computers (such as the Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Mini), mobile communications devices (such as the iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S), and mobile computing devices (such as the iPod Touch, iPad, iPad 2, the new iPad)."
- U.S. Patent No. 7,120,684 for a "method and system for central management of a computer network"
HP acquired this patent from Electronic Data Systems in 2009 and sold it to HTC, along with the previous patent, last December. HTC alleges that Apple Remote Desktop, Apple Profile Management, and their associated products and services infringe on this patent.
The case began in 2010 with a Motorola Mobility lawsuit against Apple, six of Apple's counterclaims in the consolidated action also targeted HTC. HTC has been feverishly trying to strengthen its patent portfolio to battle Apple lawsuits that seek to ban HTC handsets from sale in the U.S.
Apple recently won a ruling in another case with HTC when a judge dismissed five patents that HTC tried to assert in that case that had been borrowed from Google. The patents, cited in a case with the U.S. International Trade Commission, had been loaned to HTC last summer in an apparent attempt to beef up Android equipment makers without getting Google directly involved.
Previous Apple attempts to keep HTC products from the U.S. have had mixed results. After the ITC ruled in December that HTC infringed on Apple's patent for "data tapping" techniques, imports of HTC's One X and Evo 4G LTE were held up in May by U.S. Customs, which had to inspect the devices to ensure they were not infringing on Apple's patent. However, after a couple of weeks in limbo, the phones were allowed to enter the U.S.
CNET has contacted Apple for comment and will update this report when we learn more.