Patent Trouble For The Next iPhone?

On September 12, Apple is expected to release a new iPhone that is compatible with 4G LTE connectivity around the world.

However, according to TechCrunch, competitors such as Samsung and HTC are warning Apple that if they release a new iPhone with LTE connectivity, they will sue Apple for patent infringements and will demand a sales ban in the United States.

Smart phone makers have accumulated 4G LTE connectivity patents over the years in order to be prepared for any patent lawsuit. Apple, on the other hand, is late to the game since they have yet to release a 4G phone. Apple’s competitors are trying to use this fact and take advantage of the situation to prevent Apple from releasing a 4G LTE phone.

Apple has already released the iPad with LTE connectivity back in March. HTC accused Apple of two patent infringements and targeted every Apple LTE device and demanded a sales ban in the United States.

Apple then requested to suppress HTC’s U.S. patents, but Businessweek reported that U.S. International Trade Commission Judge Pender would not proceed with the request without evidence.

HTC acquired those LTE patents in April 2011 before releasing its first LTE phone, the HTC Thunderbolt. Out of the original eight patent infringements, only two are still considered as valid by the International Trade Commission.

Apple is trying as much as possible to avoid going any further in the lawsuit.

Samsung, however, is still continuing its global legal battle against Apple.

“It’s true that Samsung Electronics has decided to take immediate legal action against the Cupertino-based Apple. Countries in Europe and even the United States, Apple’s home-turf, are our primary targets,” said a senior Samsung employee to The Korea Times.

Apple takes the issue with Samsung very seriously , so Apple recently acquired a lot of patents related to LTE. According to the Korea Intellectual Property Office, while it had zero patents last year, it now has 4.9 percent of total LTE patents, compared to 12.7 percent for Samsung.

However, there will more-than-likely be no end to patent-based lawsuites any time soon.