Apple Sues Nexus One Maker HTC

iPhone maker Apple says that HTC, the manufacturer of a number of smartphones including the Google Nexus One, has violated a number of its mobile device patents and is taking the Taiwanese firm to court as a result.

In its lawsuit, filed today with the International Trade Commission (ITC) and in U.S. District Court in Delaware, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) claims that HTC infringed on 20 patents relating to the user interface found in its iPhone, as well as the popular smartphone's "underlying architecture and hardware."

HTC is the manufacturer of the three-month-old Nexus One, Google's first entry into the smartphone market with a phone carrying its own branding. Google is also the prime mover behind the open source Android mobile OS, which powers a number of phones including the Nexus One, the Motorola Droid, and a slew of others -- and which is widely seen as a chief rival to Apple's iPhone in the booming market for touchscreen, app-centric mobile devices.

Today's lawsuit marks only the most recent legal spat between Apple and another major phone manufacturer. The company and Nokia, the world's largest phone maker, are already sparring in court and before the ITC over similar issues of patent infringement.

"We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it," Apple CEO Steve Jobs said today 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 added.

A spokesperson from HTC told InternetNews.com that the company has only just received word of Apple's lawsuit, and can't comment directly on the validity of Apple's claims.

However, the spokesperson did add that HTC "has been very focused over the past 13 years on creating many of the most innovative smartphones."

"HTC values patent rights and their enforcement but is also committed to defending its own technology innovations," the spokesperson said. She did not elaborate.

In addition to the lawsuits against HTC and Nokia -- which first sued Apple before itself being countersued -- the Mac, iPod and iPhone maker is also fighting a legal challenge brought against it by Kodak, which sued Apple and BlackBerry creator Research in Motion over their use of what it claims is patented imaging technology.

Update adds comments from HTC.

Christopher Saunders is senior managing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


iPhone, Apple, patent lawsuit, HTC, nexus one