T-Mobile and Google have both filed friends of the court briefs supporting HTC against Apple’s patent lawsuit. The two corporations are protecting interests in the Android platform and its manufacturers, as both of them are actively supporting Samsung in a similar case. The reasoning behind their support briefs is the public interest, and both claim that if Apple keeps HTC from selling competitive devices, various negative effects will be felt by American consumers.
The move mirrors amicus curiae briefs filed by both Verizon and T-Mobile last week in support of Samsung, which is also being sued by Apple in the United States and countries around the globe. Apple contests that both HTC and Samsung have violated their hardware and software design patents, and have filed injunctions to stop sales of devices competing with the iPhone and in some countries the iPad as well. Apple has already secured injunctions against Samsung in both Germany and Australia.
The reasoning behind Google’s brief raised eyebrows at FOSS Patents, a popular blog covering the legal aspects of free and open-source software. Google touted Android’s expansion of the mobile market into low-income ares and its effectiveness during natural disasters, as well as its use by important infrastructure such as the U.S. Army. Google claims that Apple is using the patent system as a means of creating a monopoly, and that their attempted injunction against HTC threatens competition.
Google also highlighted Android’s status as “the only open mobile computing platform.” Editorial note: say Google, Honeycomb came out more than six months ago – would you mind releasing the source code for this open mobile OS you’re so keen on?
T-Mobile basically repeated their support for Samsung, claiming HTC as a major business partner and that an injunction would cause irreparable damage to their future sales. T-Mobile called out Apple’s suggestion that companies supplement a lack of Android devices with “iOS for iPhone, Blackberry OS, and Microsoft Windows” as unreasonable. The company also said that an injunction against HTC would damage its continuing rollout of a 4G network.
So, will these supplementary briefs help HTC and Samsung? It’s hard to say. Patent cases like this end in a settlement more often than not, but it looks like Apple won’t be satisfied with anything less than a ban on Android devices from both major manufacturers. Apple’s refusal to settle in the Samsung Australian case indicates that the worldwide patent battle won’t be ending any time soon.