Patent wars: who’s suing who?

Mobile technology has been a hotbed of patent litigation in recent years, with Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, HTC Corp, Motorola, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Nokia locked in legal battles over the property rights to scrolling on multitouch screens, product designs and – in lawsuits aimed at Google Inc’s Android – the operating system on mobile devices.

In Steve Jobs’ posthumous biography, he was quoted as saying that Google “ripped off” the iPhone, and he was “willing to go thermonuclear” on the Android operating system.

His battle has continued beyond his death.

Here is where the major U.S. cases stand:

Nokia vs. Apple

In October 2009, Finnish handset maker Nokia Corpsued Apple Inc in U.S. District Court in Delaware over alleged infringement of its wireless standards. The iPhone maker countersued and kept the two embroiled in litigation for a year and a half.

In June 2011, Apple agreed to pay an undisclosed sum as part of a settlement agreement and royalties for the use of parts of Nokia’s patents. However, Nokia’s business has faltered as it continues to struggle in the smartphone market, with its stock tumbling to all-time lows in 2012.

Apple vs. Android

Apple initiated the war against Android in March 2010 when it sued Taiwan’s HTC Corpover 20 patents dealing with user interface and its operating system. Along with its federal lawsuit, Apple filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission, again targeting the Android software behind HTC’s smartphones.

The International Trade Commission issued an injunction in late 2011 to halt imports of HTC’s infringing smartphones — the One X and the EVO 4G LTE — starting in April. Shipments of the two smartphones to the United States were delayed. Apple has filed at least two additional complaints with the International Trade Commission demanding emergency action against more than 25 HTC devices.

Over the past 14 months, HTC shares have slumped 72 percent, while Apple shares have gained 65 percent.

In May, the U.S. District Court in Delaware ordered HTC and Apple to meet and discuss a potential settlement on August 28.

Motorola Mobility entered the battlefield in October 2010 when it filed a suit against Apple in what was widely considered a pre-emptive strike. Apple countersued the same month.

However, Judge Richard Posner in Chicago canceled the trial that was set to occur in June, and rejected each side’s injunction requests. Motorola was acquired by Google in May 2012.

South Korea-based Samsung Electronics Co Ltd found its way to U.S. court in April 2011 when Apple claimed the manufacturer infringed on patents with some Galaxy phones and tablets, which use the Android system. Samsung countersued, and the two companies have become entangled in more than 20 cases in 10 countries.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, granted pretrial injunctions against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Galaxy Nexus phone last week, just days after Posner rejected Apple’s injunction request against Motorola.

Samsung is appealing both injunctions. A trial on the patent infringement claims related to the Tab 10.1 and other phones is scheduled for July 30.

Microsoft vs. Android

Microsoft Corp filed an International Trade Commission complaint against Motorola in October 2010 for infringing nine patents. Motorola responded the next month with its own ITC complaint against Microsoft for infringing 16 patents.

In May, the U.S. trade panel ordered an import ban on 18 infringing Motorola devices, which has not yet taken effect.

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Patent wars: who’s suing who?