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HTC Buy Shores Up Patent Defenses

Sarah Thomas

High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) announced Friday its America Holding division has agreed to buy cloud services provider Dashwire Inc. for up to $18.5 million.

The acquisition will help HTC expand its cloud-synch offerings and augment its Sense user interface with Dashwire's mix of Internet applications, including mobile instant messaging. The Seattle-based startup currently provides Internet storage capabilities to carriers, handset makers and retailers.

Importantly, it will also give HTC access to Dashwire's extensive portfolio of patents that it acquired from Intellectual Ventures Management LLC .

Why this matters
The acquisition is strategic to HTC for two reasons. First, the Internet-based capabilities of Dashwire will be helpful to HTC as it attempts to differentiate from Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and the bevy of handset makers focused on Android.

Second, and equally as important, Dashwire's patents will help HTC defend against Apple and others in the court room. On HTC's second-quarter earnings call, CEO Peter Chou dismissed concerns over a recent ruling that HTC infringed on two Apple patents, saying that it was just the result of being successful. Nevertheless, more patent suits are eminent, and HTC recognizes the need to build its own patent defense. (See Handset Makers Air Patent Grievances and Apple Wins Patent Victory Over HTC.)

This is the second acquisition HTC has made in the past month to help with both content and patent protection. In July, it announced plans to acquire graphics company S3 Graphics for $300 million for access to its imaging technology and 235 patents. (See HTC Buys a Patent Power Play.)

For more
The patent wars are escalating and could take a toll on the handset market. Read up on the latest developments below.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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