Apple, HTC settle smartphone patent fight


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Well, that’s one less international patent dispute to have to keep track of.

Apple and HTC announced Saturday that they have buried the hatchet, legally speaking, in all of their patent disputes. The two sides inked a ten-year license agreement which covers current and future patents held by both companies. Other details of the settlement—such as how much money is changing hands—weren’t disclosed.

Both companies struck a conciliatory—and similar-sounding note—in statements posted on Apple’s website.

“We are glad to have reached a settlement with HTC,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation.”

HTC’s Peter Chou also said his company was “pleased have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation.”

Saturday’s settlement ends a dispute that began more than two-and-a-half years ago when Apple filed a patent infringement suit against HTC. HTC countered with its own complaint, and Apple added a complaint, and on things went until Saturday’s agreement brought the matter to a close.

HTC and Apple had been dueling over the technology behind smartphones, an increasingly popular pastime among technology companies these days. With the market for smartphones growing—it’s expected to be a $150 billion business worldwide in two years—a number of powerful players including Apple, Google, and Microsoft, are jostling for their share of sales.

By settling their patent differences, HTC and Apple avoid the high-profile legal showdown that Apple faced against electronics giant Samsung earlier this year. Apple won a $1.05 billion judgment against Samsung in the U.S.—Samsung is appealing that verdict—while both companies have scored legal victories in other countries.

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