Apple sue HTC over iPhone patent infringement [Updated with full patent list]

Mar 2, 2010
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Sad faces over at HTC today, we'd wager, as Apple unleashes their latest patent-related lawsuit on the makers of the Hero, Desire and Legend.  Filed in the US District Court in Delaware together with the US ITC, the suit alleges that HTC have infringed on twenty Apple patents that are all related to the iPhone, whether it's UI, architecture or hardware.  It's also accompanied by the usual "create your own tech, don't steal ours" quote from CEO Steve Jobs.

"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 ... We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours" Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple

We'll have to go dig through the lawsuit to figure out exactly which patents Apple reckons HTC have illicitly borrowed, but we're guessing it's the same bevy of multitouch tech that they've previously threatened Palm over.  Apple maintains they hold the intellectual rights to much of the multitouch gesture technology we've grown used to seeing included in modern smartphones, such as pinch-zoom.

HTC are yet to issue a response, but we've got a request in for a comment from their PR team.  If past legal battles are anything to go by, this will all take some time to work its way out.  Update: HTC's official comment is here.

Update:

Full list of supposedly infringed patents (of which there seem to be 10, not the 20 Apple suggest in their press release) from Gizmodo:

  • The ‘331 Patent, entitled "Time-Based, Non-Constant Translation Of User Interface Objects Between States," was duly and legally issued on April 22, 2008 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  • The ‘949 Patent, entitled "Touch Screen Device, Method, And Graphical User Interface For Determining Commands By Applying Heuristics," was duly and legally issued on January 20, 2009 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘949 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit B.
  • The ‘849 Patent, entitled "Unlocking A Device By Performing Gestures On An Unlock Image," was duly and legally issued on February 2, 2010 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘849 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit C.
  • The ‘381 Patent, entitled "List Scrolling And Document Translation, Scaling, And Rotation On A Touch-Screen Display," was duly and legally issued on December 23, 2008 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘381 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit D.
  • The ‘726 Patent, entitled "System And Method For Managing Power Conditions Within A Digital Camera Device," was duly and legally issued on July 6, 1999 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘726 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit E.
  • The ‘076 Patent, entitled "Automated Response To And Sensing Of User Activity In Portable Devices," was duly and legally issued on December 15, 2009 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘076 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit F.
  • The ‘105 Patent, entitled "GMSK Signal Processors For Improved Communications Capacity And Quality," was duly and legally issued on December 8, 1998 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘105 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit G.
  • The ‘453 Patent, entitled "Conserving Power By Reducing Voltage Supplied To An Instruction-Processing Portion Of A Processor," was duly and legally issued on June 3, 2008 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘453 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit H.
  • The ‘599 Patent, entitled "Object-Oriented Graphic System," was duly and legally issued on October 3, 1995 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘599 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit I.
  • The ‘354 Patent, entitled "Object-Oriented Event Notification System With Listener Registration Of Both Interests And Methods," was duly and legally issued on July 23, 2002 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘354 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit J.

Update: According to Engadget Apple have submitted over 700 pages of exhibits to support their case; HTC may have only just found out about this, but it looks like Cupertino's legal team have been working on it for some time.  They also list the named devices in the case:

Nexus One, Touch Pro, Touch Diamond, Touch Pro2, Tilt II, Pure, Imagio, Dream / G1, myTouch 3G, Hero, HD2, and Droid Eris

Apparently while both Android and Windows Mobile devices are fingered, the former are flagged up for running Android while the latter only get a mention thanks to the DSP chips they incorporate.

    Press Release:

    Apple Sues HTC for Patent Infringement

    CUPERTINO, California—March 2, 2010—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.

    Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its revolutionary iPhone.


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