HTC is suing Apple and asking U.S. regulators to ban Apple from selling the iPhone, iPod and iPad in the United States. The lawsuit is the latest move in the long-simmering legal battle between Apple and HTC, following Apple's March 2 lawsuit against the phone manufacturer for allegedly violating some 20 patents related to the iPhone. Apple also finds itself in a legal tit-for-tat with Nokia, as the iPhone battles it out with Google Android-based devices for greater share of the U.S. smartphone market.
Apple found itself in the crosshairs of a patent-infringement lawsuit filed
by HTC May 12, the latest
maneuver in a long and increasingly bitter legal battle between the
two companies. In a new filing, HTC officials
ask the International Trade Commission to ban Apple from selling the
iPhone, iPad and iPod in the United States.
"As an innovator of the original Windows Mobile PocketPC Phone Edition in
2002 and the first Android smartphone in 2008, HTC
believes the industry should be driven by healthy competition and innovation
that offer consumers the best, most accessible mobile experiences possible,"
Jason Mackenzie, HTC's vice president for
North America, wrote
in a May 12 statement. "We are taking this action against Apple to protect
our intellectual property, our industry partners, and most importantly, our
customers that use HTC phones."
That statement did not elaborate on the five patents supposedly in dispute.
Nonetheless, this newest lawsuit is widely seen as a response to Apple, which
filed a lawsuit against HTC March 2 alleging
violation of some 20 patents related to the iPhone interface, architecture and
hardware. "We think competition is healthy," Apple CEO
Steve Jobs wrote in a March statement, "but competitors should create their
original technology, not steal ours."
At the time, HTC promised to vigorously
dispute the lawsuit. Several weeks later, on April 27, the manufacturer
announced an IP (intellectual property) agreement with Microsoft that would
license the latter's patented technology for use in HTC
smartphones running Google Android. The royalties paid to Microsoft for the
license were undisclosed, but industry watchers speculated that the agreement
would help HTC buttress its patent portfolio
in advance of any Apple court action.
HTC has been angling to become a top
smartphone maker in the United States,
issuing a broad range of Android-based devices, including the HTC
Droid Incredible and the Nexus One. In
a research note released May 10, NPD Group suggested that Android had
supplanted the iPhone as the No. 2 smartphone operating system in the
that Apple has vigorously disputed, but which nonetheless suggest the strength
of Android's market share gains in a relatively limited timeframe.
has also struck back at Apple, filing a May 7 lawsuit that
alleges the iPad and iPhone infringe on five of its patents. The conflict
between the two companies began in May 2009, with Nokia seeking patent
royalties from Apple; when Apple reportedly refused to negotiate, the companies
began a series of legal claims and counterclaims. On Dec. 29, Nokia filed
patent infringement lawsuits against Apple with both the U.S. District Court in
Delaware and the ITC.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.