Apple sues HTC for violating 20 patents relating to UI, architecture and hardware

This press release just hit the wire:

Apple today filed a lawsuit against HTC for infringing on 20 Apple patents related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture and hardware. The lawsuit was filed concurrently with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and in U.S. District Court in Delaware.

“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,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”

Apple reinvented the mobile phone in 2007 with its revolutionary iPhone, and did it again in 2008 with its pioneering App Store, which now offers more than 150,000 mobile applications in over 90 countries. Over 40 million iPhones have been sold worldwide.

And I’m sitting here scratching my head wondering what exactly HTC has done. Sense UI is nothing like the iPhone UI, and while some of the applications within Sense UI mimic the built in applications on the iPhone, I wouldn’t call them so similar that it would be worth suing the company. No doubt that some time later today someone will find the court documents that list which 20 patents HTC has violated. “Underlying architecture and hardware” is one I’m especially keen to read about since Apple, along with everyone else, uses the same few component suppliers in Asia.

The only HTC product I own is the Nexus One, and I’ve had it for less than a month. I’ve also used a jailbroken iPhone for a few days way back in 2007. You guys are probably more familiar with these two companies products than I am, so can you venture a guess as to what the hell is going on here?

Update: Big ups to Gizmodo for listing the 20 patents, with images, that Apple is giving HTC shit over.

  • Matt Jones

    I’m sat here with my HTC Hero and my iPhone and I’m pretty baffled. Yeah, there are some similarities, but surely not enough to justify a court battle?

    Are Apple really getting that concerned?

    • Stefan Constantinescu

      Looks like they don’t want anyone coming close to their devices. Curious to see what they’ll do with Microsoft! 😉

  • Marinperez

    Silly stuff. HTC is supposedly stealing from Apple, who is supposedly stealing from NOkia, who is probably stealing from Motorola … Dumb patent wars that will just lead to licensing agreements.

  • aubskibob

    Lawsuits = desperation.

    Apple is scared and they aren’t releasing anything big this year.

    Sorry Steve Jobs, people can taste the blood in the water now.

  • Nick Bajzek

    I think it’s clear this is just a tactic Jobs is taking to smear his competitors and bury them under paperwork for the next few months. You see stuff like this all the time, going way back to Edison. Yawn.

  • Jeremy

    One of the prized patents of apple is the multi-touch functionality, where you can increase or decrease the zoom, or do other functions within the iPhone. I haven’t seen the report, but it was rumored a while ago that they’d go after anybody with similar technology, stolen or not, like a pack of wild dogs.

    My money is on six months to a year of litigation and the case being dropped for lack of legitimate and understandable evidence.

  • chrisman

    the only thing i can think of is mabye the spell check on the on screen keyboard.
    the multi touch wasnt implimented by htc hackers created it and htc just added it

  • Brian

    This is being typed on an Acer Aspire One that uses a trackpad with multi-point gesture support. Specifically – pinch and stretch zoom. Have not been able to find any reference to Apple either suing or receiving money from either Acer or the trackpad manufacturer (Synaptics). In fact, a quick search points out that Synaptics holds a patent for this type of technology. A little more research shows that many companies hold similar patents.
    No question Apple is going after HTC for one clear reason – HTC is growing while Apple is in the midst of a product maturation leveling off.
    If a bit more of the money currently used for vital organs, lawfare and app turf protection went towards more R&D and developments that continued to advance the excellence of their user experience, Apple would truly merit the adulation heaped upon it by the Hipster Fruit Zombie Legions.

  • JoeX51

    I Don’t see this going very far,especially if MS gets involved. Since HTC is the primary vehicle that Microsoft will use to launch their New Windows 7 Mobile OS.
    Don’t forget Google uses them as well.
    Like other people have said, they are losing maket share and this is a ploy, to try and keep some of it.

    Alot of what i saw that they patented is stuff that hardware makers have been using since before Apple made the newton!

    I all seriosness who the hell was on watch when they filed for these patents in late 2009?

    Patent 7,469,381 – “List Scrolling And Document Translation, Scaling And Rotation On A Touch Screen Display” (One again.. Windows Mobile been doing this for years. List Scrolling? Scaling (zoom), Rotation, all on a touchscreen display.) i guess they better sue every phone maker!

    Patent 7,633,076 – “Automated Response To And Sensing Of User Activity In Portable Devices” (Yes how dare somebody sense and respond to user activity in a portable device… Apple invented that? that was sarcastic)

    Patent 7,383,453 – “Conserving Power By Reducing Voltage Supplied To An Instruction Processing Portion Of A Processor” (“Ummm… another thing that’s been going on since before Apple even considered building a phone, This was part of windows CE units back in 2001 and WM2003”)

    Patent 7,657,849 – “Unlocking A Device By Performing Gestures On An Unlock Image” (Is pressing unlock, or typing in a code considered a Gesture?? Microsoft has been doing this for 10+ Years. I have a Gesture for Apple. )

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