Apple, HTC settle their patent suits worldwide

The smartphone makers have signed a patent cross-licensing agreement that ends their conflict

Apple and Android smartphone maker HTC have settled all of their outstanding patent disputes, they said late today. The settlement includes a 10-year agreement under which the companies will license current and future patents from each other, they said in a brief statement. The terms of the settlement are confidential and were not disclosed.

The patent dispute between the companies, one of many being fought in the mobile device industry, began in March 2010 when Apple filed suits at the International Trade Commission and U.S. District Court for Delaware accusing HTC of patent infringement. HTC hit back with its own lawsuit and the fight escalated.

[ Galen Gruman explains what's behind the Apple-Android patent war.| Stay ahead of the key tech business news with InfoWorld's Today's Headlines: First Look newsletter. | Read Bill Snyder's Tech's Bottom Line blog for what the key business trends mean to you. ]

In today's settlement, the top executives from each company provided much the same commentary in the joint statement: HTC CEO Peter Chou said, "HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation," while Apple CEO Tim Cook said, "We are glad to have reached a settlement with HTC. We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation."

Apple was the world's number two smartphone maker in the second quarter, accounting for 16.7 percent of shipments, according to research from IDC. HTC was in fourth place with a share of 5.8 percent, IDC said.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for the IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's email address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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