What, HTC Worry?
“We only learned of Apple’s actions based on Apple’s press release. We have not been served any papers yet so we are in no position to comment on the claims. We respect and value patent rights but we are committed to defending our own innovations. We have been innovating and patenting our own technology for 13 years.”
— HTC’s first statement on Apple’s suit
Now that it has had some time to recover from the intellectual property lawsuit sucker punch Apple threw at it yesterday, HTC has issued a more carefully crafted positioning statement on the matter. More thoroughly lawyered than its predecessor, this statement touches on issues of consumer choice and the effect Apple’s (AAPL) attack might have on the company’s business.
“HTC believes that consumer choice is a key component to success in the smartphone industry and this is best achieved through multiple suppliers providing a variety of mobile experiences,” the company said. “HTC has focused on offering its customers a uniquely-HTC experience through HTC Sense and its broad portfolio of smartphones. HTC does not believe this lawsuit poses a short-term material impact to its business nor will it affect its Q1 2010 guidance.”
Aside from the absence of any mention of Android, HTC’s statement is pretty much what you’d expect. It is interesting, though, that the company doesn’t see Apple’s suit undermining its 2010 guidance.
Obviously, this particular battle could take years to play out, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have short-term repercussions. Certainly, it’s not hard to imagine carriers thinking twice about adding HTC’s new smartphones to their lineups given the possibility that the International Trade Commission could halt shipments of infringing HTC phones if it finds in Apple’s favor.
Beyond this, there’s the issue of the design changes that would need to be made to infringing HTC devices to make them noninfringing. There’s a cost to that as well, potentially substantial.