Apple sues HTC over patent infringements

Apple sues HTC over patent infringements

Summary: Today sees Apple's legal hounds take on handset maker HTC. Apple claims the company is infringing on nearly two dozen iPhone patents.

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TOPICS: Apple, Hardware, HTC, Legal
31

Today sees Apple's legal hounds take on handset maker HTC. Apple claims the company is infringing on nearly two dozen iPhone patents.

According to Apple, HTC is infringing on 20 patents relating to the iPhone user interface.

Court documents can be found here.

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."

HTC has the following statement:

HTC is a mobile technology innovator and patent holder that has been very focused over the past 13 years on creating many of the most innovative smartphones. HTC values patent rights and their enforcement but is also committed to defending its own technology innovations.

HTC only learned of Apple’s actions this morning via media reports, and therefore we have not yet had the opportunity to investigate the filings. Until we have had this opportunity, we are unable to comment on the validity of the claims being made against HTC.

Here are the patents listed in the filing:

  • ‘331 Patent, entitled "Time-Based, Non-Constant Translation Of User Interface Objects Between States"
  • ‘949 Patent, entitled "Touch Screen Device, Method, And Graphical User Interface For Determining Commands By Applying Heuristics"
  • ‘849 Patent, entitled "Unlocking A Device By Performing Gestures On An Unlock Image"
  • ‘381 Patent, entitled "List Scrolling And Document Translation, Scaling, And Rotation On A Touch-Screen Display"
  • ‘726 Patent, entitled "System And Method For Managing Power Conditions Within A Digital Camera Device"
  • ‘076 Patent, entitled "Automated Response To And Sensing Of User Activity In Portable Devices"
  • ‘105 Patent, entitled "GMSK Signal Processors For Improved Communications Capacity And Quality"
  • ‘453 Patent, entitled "Conserving Power By Reducing Voltage Supplied To An Instruction-Processing Portion Of A Processor"
  • ‘599 Patent, entitled "Object-Oriented Graphic System"
  • ‘354 Patent, entitled "Object-Oriented Event Notification System With Listener Registration Of Both Interests And Methods"

Here is a copy of Apple's ITC filing (PDF).

The scope of the infringements is huge, and the devices involved range from the Nexus One "Googlephone", the T-Mobile G1, the HTC Hero to pretty much every Windows Mobile handset HTC has made.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, HTC, Legal

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31 comments
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  • Apple vs HTC will go nowhere until Apple vs Nokia is settled.

    Apple have their hands full given Nokia alleges IP infringement across ALL of Apple's product line.
    D.T.Schmitz
  • RE: Apple sues HTC over patent infringements

    Didn't Palm use some of the same things listed in the
    patents with the Pre?

    This one for sure: ?Unlocking A Device By Performing
    Gestures On An Unlock Image?

    So, I guess Apple's just going to sue everyone that makes
    a touchscreen phone now, eh?
    Scythe944
    • If you can't beat 'em...

      ...sue 'em!
      GoodThings2Life
    • well, no one made a touchscreen phone

      until the iphone came out. Then everyone did. Since the iPhone's release, the total R&D effort of Samsung, Nokia, Sony, HTC, LG etc can be summed up as "copy the iPhone". Really I can't think of another example were a product, invented by one manufacturer, was so quickly and blatently cloned by every other manufacturer.
      The Star King
      • The sad thing is that Apple has convinced you that you are right

        [i]well, no one made a touchscreen phone
        until the iphone came out.[/i]

        Other than the fact that you are wrong, this is
        totally true.

        [i]Really I can't think of another example were
        a product, invented by one manufacturer, was so
        quickly and blatently cloned by every other
        manufacturer.[/i]

        I can.
        June 5, 2007: HTC releases a gesture
        recognizing, finger optimized, full screen
        touch screen smartphone called the HTC Touch.

        June 29, 2007: Apple clones the HTC Touch and
        calls it the iPhone. Unfortunately, they didn't
        have time to fully implement all the features
        in the HTC Touch. It would take them another
        year to release a native app SDK, another 2
        years to code in Windows Mobile's copy and
        paste functionality, and this year, we might
        finally see Apple figure out the HTC Touch's
        multi-tasking.
        NonZealot
        • Except you're kinda off...

          Back in November 2005 - Motorola filed for FCC approval for their A1200 MotoMing phone and it was approved. It wasn't really released in the US at the time. It was a phone that was supposed to be released in Asia only. But funny thing... It was (and still is) a pretty cool phone. By November 2006, it was the #2 most searched phone behind the black Motorola RAZR.

          The A1200 is a Linux (Trolltech Qtopia Core w/some Mandriva thrown in) based smartphone. It's got a touch screen, 3.2 MPX camera and it's a flip phone. It kinda looks like a Star Trek (original series) communicator - except the lid is clear plastic and not tin foil.

          It also features a user replacable battery, micro SD chip slot, quad band GSM technology, and by default, you could install Java based apps.

          In January 2007, just a few weeks prior to the iPhone announcment, Motorola had planned on bringing the A1200 to the US as an unlocked phone. In fact, the late CompUSA had a dummy model on display in their cell phone department.

          And as far as cloned technology goes... Uh... How bout that Moto RAZR? For a while after it was released, skinny phones were the 'IT' thing. Everybody was going after the thin look.
          Wolfie2K3
        • Except for the fact that...

          Apple had produced a prototype touch screen (albeit with a stylus) phone as far back as 1983. It wasn't a mobile phone, but it did do touchy feely phone stuff. Look it up.

          I may be smug and arrogant, but I'm often right :P
          zkiwi
      • Not exactly true

        Nokia made a touch screen that was never brought to the US. It was the model 7710. Granted touch GUI was in its infancy at the time but, this phone was released overseas in 2004 or 2005. At the time it was considered extremely innovative.
        GhengisKhan
      • re: well, no one made a touchscreen phone

        I have to disagree with this statement. I had a
        HTC Wizard touchscreen smartphone long before the
        IPhone came out. As a matter of fact my HTC
        Hermes is older than the IPhone. I would make
        sure that you have your facts straight before
        making a statement like this.
        randy.nix
      • Huh?

        I have a palm phone that is 8 years old, I can't seem to find an iPhone that old yet, anyone?
        sduvall
        • errm...

          I knew I had one somewhere... yes, an iPhone made by those nifty types over at Sony Ericsson. Oh wait... iPhone wasn't around but the P910i was. And the P900i before it. Oh and the P800.

          Then there was the JASJAR - that even had a big keyboard!
          johnaaaaaaaaa2
      • When did iPhone come out again?

        November 27, 2000 - Kyocera Wireless today
        announced the Kyocera QCP 6035 Smartphone, a
        powerful yet lightweight wireless handset that
        unites voice communications, text messaging, e-
        mail and multiple methods of Web access with
        the power of a Palm OS-based organizer.
        Commercial availability of the Kyocera
        Smartphone is expected in the first quarter of
        2001.

        After that came the 7135, and after that I
        moved to WinMo (Pocket PC at the time), and
        lost track of Palm phones, but my Audiovox
        xv6600 was teh cool, featuring touchscreen,
        slide out keyboard, expandable memory, Windows
        Media player for MP3s etc. and all sorts of
        easily installed apps... yeah, total iPhone
        clones, right?
        goldenpanther
  • Looks like Intel may be in trouble, too

    [i]?453 Patent, entitled ?Conserving Power By Reducing Voltage Supplied To An Instruction-Processing Portion Of A Processor?[/i]

    Issue Date: July 19, 2005

    <a href="http://www.tomshardware.com/news/cmos-voltage-regulator-reduce-cpu-power-consumption-35-percent,1329.html">Intel announcement</a> date: August 25, 2005
    Earthling2
  • Apple sure is arrogant.

    Since most "IP" patents are simply paid for without any real invention or merit, Apple is taking a pretty big and stupid risk. HTC isn't Psystar, and if you really think Google and all the others behind HTC aren't going to throw in with HTC, well, you really have forgotten SCO.

    I mean really, can you patent [B]Unlocking A Device By Performing Gestures On An Unlock Image[/B]? The obviousness of said patent reaching into the absurd level. I mean, is Apple the first ever computing device that could ever be locked?

    Can't wait to see the blowback.

    TripleII
    TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
    • I think Apple will win this

      As Apple apologists have proudly pointed
      out, Apple has $50 billion in cash to pay lawyers
      and bribe judges. Expect to see HTC disappear in a
      year. Score one for competition!
      NonZealot
      • How much does Google have?

        After all, it's in THEIR best interest to see that nothing happens to HTC . . .

        Might be interesting to see what AT&T and Verizon do to someone threatening to cut off a major phone supplier . . .
        JLHenry
      • No, I think they stepped in it.

        You don't need $50B to defend yourself, HTC has enough and as pointed out, Verizon, Sprint, Google, Nokia, even Microsoft, Apple is about to be beaten about the head in a M.A.D. type of way, and it doesn't matter how "ubercool" they are, they are one dinky little company acting like they 0wn the playing field. I can't find one valid patent in the list above that didn't pre-exist and will simply show the corruption and ineptitude of the current patent system yet again.

        You can already be sure the blogsphere is alive with Android supporters ripping every patent to shreds.

        TripleII
        TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
        • An example...

          http://www.slashgear.com/patent-investigators-name-apple-as-next-target-garmin-prior-art-found-0933495/
          [B] Article One Partners, have given a $50,000 prize fund to two researchers that turned up evidence potentially letting Garmin off the hook in a patent dispute of their own. Article One have now launched seven more patent studies, each with cash jackpots, one of which addresses Apple?s touchscreen IP.[/B]

          When the dust settles, I personally think we see as much anti-iAnything in the corporate world as EVER existed in the anti-MS world.

          TripleII
          TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
          • I really hope you are right

            [i]When the dust settles, I personally think we
            see as much anti-iAnything in the corporate
            world as EVER existed in the anti-MS world.[/i]

            Apple is no more altruistic a company as MS,
            they simply haven't ever been successful enough
            to make us consumers feel the pain. That looks
            to be changing.

            Like I said, I hope you are right.
            NonZealot
      • HTC isn't going anywhere.

        Let's assume Apple can prove damages from infringement of some of the
        patents cited in the case. All that will happen is that HTC will pay
        damages, and a licensing fee on units sold going forward until they invent
        something new with similar functionality that falls outside of the Apple
        patent(s).

        HTC will be fine. Google will be fine. Android will be fine. The Earth will
        remain in its orbit around the sun. Disaster averted.
        RationalGuy