Apple Inc. launched a legal broadside
against a key Google Inc. partner in the cell phone
market, the latest sign of the escalating tensions between the two Silicon
alleged numerous patent violations in lawsuits against HTC Corp., a
Taiwan-based manufacturer of smart phones. HTC makes several phones that run
Google’s Android operating system, including the Nexus One phone that Google is
selling directly to consumers.
two complaints— filed in federal court in Delaware and the U.S. International
Trade Commission—allege HTC devices, including the Nexus One, infringe a total
of 20 Apple patents. The complaints claim the patents cover an array of cell
phone technologies, everything from power-management functions to a method of
unlocking a handset with a finger swipe on a touch screen.
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,” Apple Chief
Executive Steve Jobs said in a prepared statement. “We think competition
is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not
HTC spokesman said the company is still reviewing the complaints. “HTC
values patent rights and their enforcement but is also committed to defending
its own technology innovations,” said spokesman Keith Novak.
Google spokeswoman said that, while the company was not a party in the lawsuit,
the company “stands behind our Android operating system and the partners
who have helped us to develop it.” Apple declined to comment on whether
the suit was aimed at Google.
While HTC also makes
phones based on an operating system from Microsoft, several models of which are
named in Apple’s ITC complaint, the lawsuits emphasize alleged violations by
HTC’s Android phones. Those include high-profile models like Droid Eris, sold
through Verizon Wireless.