It was revealed yesterday that Apple has filed a law suite against HTC stating that the company had infringed upon 20 different patents “related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture and hardware.” In a statement from Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Jobs said, “We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”
The weird part about this suite is that Apple never told HTC about it. In a statement released by the company to Engadget.com, HTC stated, “We only learned about Apple’s actions based on your [Engadget] stories and Apple’s press release. We have not been served yet so we are in no position to comment on the claims. We respect and value patent rights but we are committed to defending our own innovations. We have been innovating and patenting our own technology for 13 years.”
It appears that Apple has submitted over 700 pages of exhibits to the District Court. But that’s not all, the ITC complaint names a bunch of HTC handsets as exhibits which include such devices as the Nexus One, Touch Pro, Touch Diamond, Touch Pro II, Tilt II, Pure, Imagio, Dream/G1, myTouch, 3G, Hero, HD2 and droid Eris. Overall that’s a lot of HTC devices, running both Android and Windows Mobile as well as with and without Sense/TouchFLO. What is interesting, however, is that the Android devices are called out specifically because they run Android. Yet the Windows Mobile devices are called out for including DSP chips which has nothing to do with Windows Mobile.
The 20 patents under investigation for the Federal Case are the ones dealing with Time-Based Non-Constant Translation of User Interface Objects Between States, Touch Screen Device, Method and Graphical User Interface for Determining Commands by Applying Heuristics, Unlocking a Device by Performing Gestures on an Unlock Image, List Scrolling and Document Translation, Scaling and Rotation on a Touch Screen Display, System and Method for Managing Power Conditions Within a Digital Camera Device, Automated Response to and Sensing of User Activity in Portable Devices, GMSK Signal Processors for Improved Communications Capacity and Quality, Conserving Power by Reducing Voltage Supplied to an Instruction Processing Portion of a Processor, Object-Oriented Graphic System and Object-Oriented Event Notification System with Listener Registration of Both Interests and Methods.
The patents under investigation in the ITC complaint include Method for Providing Automatic and Dynamic Translation of Object Oriented Programming Language-Based Messages Passing into Operation System Message Passing Using Proxy Objects, Object Oriented Multitasking System, Object Oriented Operating System, Method and Apparatus for Distributing Events in an Operating System, Encapsulated Network Entity Reference of a Network Component System, System and Method for Performing an Action on a Structure in Computer-Generated Data, Message Protocol for Controlling a User Interface from an Interactive Application Program, Real-Time Signal Processing System for Serially Transmitted Data, Method and Apparatus for Handling I/O requests Utilizing Separate Programming Interfaces to Access Separate I/O Service and Extensible, Replaceable Network Component System.
It is still far to early to determine what is going to happen in this case. who knows, maybe there will be a quick settlement or a raging war for the next couple of years. Apple has specifically gone after the Android devices of HTC and has carefully planned every aspect of their attack. Its gone before the ITC as well as the Federal Courts and both have the power to stop HTC from selling devices. How HTC will respond to all of this and whether or not Google will get involved are the next big questions on everybody’s minds.
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