Apple and HTC make peace in global smartphone patent war

APPLE and Taiwanese rival HTC have settled a patent battle over mobile phone technology and announced a 10-year licensing agreement, putting an end to a global dispute that has dragged on for two years.

The firms announced the deal in a surprise joint statement yesterday. They did not reveal details, except to say that the deal dismisses all current lawsuits between the parties and that the licensing agreement covers any current or future patents held by either Apple or HTC.

Their dispute goes back as far as 2010, when Apple sued HTC for using iPhone technology in HTC handsets running Google’s Android operating system. Since then, the two companies have been locked in a number of court battles across the world.

One claim saw the launch of two top-of-the-range HTC phones delayed in the US earlier this year.

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

HTC boss Peter Chou said the deal meant his company could “focus on innovation instead of litigation”.

The cooling of hostilities between the rivals comes in stark contrast to the battles between Apple and Samsung, who have launched lawsuit after lawsuit against each other in recent months. Apple has refused a cross-licensing deal with Samsung, which has become a far bigger threat to the iPhone than HTC.