In Apple’s recently-filed lawsuit against HTC, patent filings will play a large role in how the legal proceedings play out. By that metric, the company is “heavily armed,” according to Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt, with 3,013 patents in its portfolio.
In contrast, HTC is bringing a knife to a gun fight with its 58 patents, and Google, which supplies the Android OS HTC uses in the phones that are the target of Apple’s lawsuit, own 316 patents. Of course, as Mr. Elmer-DeWitt pointed out, not all patents are equal, and not all of the 3000-plus patents owned by the three companies pertain to smartphones.
The columnist pulled the data from a Deutsche Bank report issued by Chris Whitmore on Sunday. He quoted Mr. Whitmore as writing: "The suit has a twofold benefit of applying pressure to additional handset manufacturers using or contemplating use of the Android OS (e.g. Samsung and Motorola). In addition, Apple’s suit could have the effect of slowing investment from developers currently working on or considering developing on the Android platform.
"While litigation appears to be an increasingly common cost of doing business, we view Apple’s willingness to aggressively defend its patent portfolio favorably and welcome the defense of its IP."