Apple Files Second Suit Against Smartphone Competitor HTC
Despite the frenzy surrounding the launch of the
iPhone 4, Apple
found time to file a second suit
against competitor HTC.
In a June 21 document, filed in a Federal District Court in Delaware, Apple alleged that HTC infringes on two additional patents not mentioned in its first suit, filed in early March, which accused HTC of violating 20 patents related to the iPhone's interface, architecture and hardware. The two patents mentioned in the second suit relate to the same type of technology, which Apple described as a "system for real-time adaptation to changes in display configuration."
HTC first responded to Apple's original allegations on March 17, saying it would defend itself and offering a timeline of its milestones in the industry-which includes shipping its first touch-screen smartphone in 2002, "with more than 50 additional HTC smartphone models shipping since then." Apple first entered the smartphone market with the introduction of its original iPhone in 2007.
Taking things further, on May 12 HTC filed a suit of its own with the International Trade Commission. The suit accuses Apple of infringing on five HTC-owned patents, and requests that the ITC prevent Apple from selling its iPhone, iPod and iPad devices in the United States.
"We are taking this action against Apple to protect our intellectual property, our industry partners and most importantly our customers that use HTC phones," Jason Mackenzie, HTC's vice president for North America, said in a May 12 statement.
On April 1, the ITC ruled that it would investigate Apple's complaint against HTC.
Given the growing prominence and popularity of handsets running Google's Android operating system, as many HTC handsets do, some suspect Apple of sour grapes. In the short term, however, Apple appears to have little to worry about. In a June 23 research note, analyst Brian Marshall with Gleacher & Co. (formerly Broadpoint AmTech), conservatively estimated that sales of the Apple iPhone would reach 40 million units in calendar year 2010, and move to 50 million in 2011.
"We reiterate our view that [Apple] is the best technology company on the planet and is the 'anchor tenant' of our Secular Growth Pedestal," Marshall wrote.