It looks like Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook isn’t all that into thermonuclear war. Unlike Steve Jobs, who famously declared he’d wage all-out war against Google’s Android operating system in the courts, Cook was known to be less fond of litigation, calling Apple’s smartphone and tablet battles a “pain in the ass.”
The pain subsided ever so slightly on Sunday, when Apple and HTC announced the settlement of their long-running dispute over smartphone patents. In a joint-statement, the two sides announced that they’d settled all outstanding litigation in federal court and the U.S. International Trade Commission and entered into a 10-year licensing agreement. Both Cook and HTC CEO Peter Chou said the deal would allow them to put their energy into innovation rather than litigation.
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner partners Thomas Jarvis and John Alison worked together with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati’s Michael Murphy and Stephen Berke to help HTC negotiate the deal. “Finnegan was honored to represent HTC and its affiliates over the course of five Section 337 ITC litigations and additional ancillary District Court actions against Apple,” Finnegan’s Jarvis said in an e-mailed statement. “We are pleased that HTC and Apple have resolved their disputes and look forward to new innovations in the smartphone mobile communications market that consumers will enjoy.”
Wilson Sonsini’s Murphy and Berke didn’t respond to requests for comment. Keker & Van Nest and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan also represented HTC in the ITC litigation. Quinn Emanuel is also regular counsel for Google in Android-related patent litigation. Partner Paul Brinkman wasn’t available to comment.
Kirkland & Ellis represented Apple at the ITC and in Delaware federal court, with partner Chris Mizzo serving as lead counsel. (The company was also represented by Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg at the ITC.) Mizzo couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
The deal closes a chapter in the smartphone litigation saga that began in March 2010, when Apple sued HTC at the ITC and in U.S. district court in Delaware for allegedly infringing 10 iPhone-related patents. Two months later, HTC struck back with its own claims, accusing Apple of infringing three patents HTC had acquired from a patent troll called Saxon Innovations. HTC then acquired nine Google patents and used them to file additional patent infringement claims against Apple, only top have ITC administrative judge Thomas Pender throw out those patents in June.
Details of the settlement are confidential, but industry analysts speculate that HTC will pay Apple a hefty licensing fee. According to Apple Insider, industry analyst Shaw Wu with Sterne Agee estimated that the royalty rate would be between $6 and $8 per HTC phone sold–higher than the $5 rate HTC pays Microsoft. Based on HTC’s sales figures, Wu predicted that Apple could make up to $280 million a year as a result of the licensing agreement.