Apple sues HTC for patent violation

Apple sues HTC for patent violation

The Google Nexus One and the Apple iPhone

In the lawsuit, filed with the office of United States International Trade Commission and the United States District Court in Delaware, Apple said HTC phones running Android violated 20 of its patents, including those relating to the iPhone’s ability to recognise the touch of multiple fingers on its screen at once. Since last fall, Google has been gradually adding multitouch capabilities to phones running Android through software updates.

Apple and Google, once close allies, are now fighting for control of the market for smartphones, seen as the most important computing platform of the next decade.
“We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it,” Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said in a statement.

“We’ve decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours,” Jobs said.
Apple accused HTC of infringing on 20 Apple patents related to the “user interface, underlying architecture and hardware” of the iPhone. Apple has sold more than 40 million iPhones since introducing the smartphone in 2007.

HTC makes handsets for a number of leading companies and is the manufacturer of the Nexus One unveiled by Apple rival Google in January.

Apple is currently being sued by Nokia for patent infringement and has countersued the Finnish mobile phone giant.

The battle has become emotional since last year, when HTC, Motorola and other phone makers began selling Android-based phones that offered a credible alternative to the iPhone.

In that time, the two companies have competed to acquire several start-ups, and Eric E Schmidt, Google’s Chief Executive, left Apple’s board.

The lawsuit “is the opening shot in a war,” said Kevin Rivette, a patent lawyer and former vice president for intellectual property strategy at IBM. “Apple is island-hopping, attacking first the Asian companies. Then it can go after Motorola, gradually whittling away at Google’s base. They want to break the Android tsunami.”

In a statement, HTC said that it “values patent rights and their enforcement but is also committed to defending its own technology innovations.” The company said it had not yet had an opportunity to review Apple’s claims.

HTC said in Taipai that it did not believe the lawsuit posed a short-term material impact to its business.

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