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Despite Apple's patents on cell phone touch gestures, HTC was the first to bring a touch-gesture driven phone to the market, with its HTC Touch, released in June 2007.  (Source: Overseas Electronics)
Company is standing up to Apple's patent claims

HTC says in a press release that it is prepared to fight back against Apple's patent litigation in court.  It has not yet filed an official response or countersued, but that should follow within a few weeks.

Apple is currently suing HTC to block the import of Android handsets into the U.S.  Apple claims that it invented a host of technologies including a touch-screen finger-swipe unlock gestures, mobile object oriented graphics, and undervolting a mobile CPU via an interrupt.  These somewhat vague and far-reaching patents form the basis of Apple's claims.  Apple CEO Jobs released a statement casting his company as the tireless innovator and his rivals as thieves.

Peter Chou, chief executive officer, HTC Corporation, says that HTC won't tolerate Apple's bullying.  He states, "HTC disagrees with Apple's actions and will fully defend itself. HTC strongly advocates intellectual property protection and will continue to respect other innovators and their technologies as we have always done, but we will continue to embrace competition through our own innovation as a healthy way for consumers to get the best mobile experience possible."

The press release points out that HTC achieved many industry firsts -- the first Windows PDA (1998), the first Windows Phone (2002), the first gesture-based smart phone (June 2007), and the first Google Android smart phone (October 2008).  Along the way it piled up a fair amount of intellectual property, which could give it ammo against Apple in court.

Some are speculating that Google, makers of the Android operating system, may intervene and aid its handset developers legally to prevent Apple trying to stomp out the growing Android movement at the hardware level.

The stakes are high.  If Apple wins, it could effectively take many of the top Android handsets off the U.S. market, including the HTC Hero, MyTouch, Nexus One, and the soon-to-be-released Incredible.  If HTC wins, on the other hand, it will likely damage Apple's image and give the Android movement more momentum.

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So I guess then that...
By Motoman on 3/18/2010 12:05:02 PM , Rating: 2
...Apple hasn't noticed the other phones on the market that use on-screen finger gestures to do things?

My wife's LG Envy Touch uses little gestures for things, like unlocking the phone. And I'm pretty sure other phones do too.

So I find it curious that Apple doesn't "defend" itself against other phones - just HTC ones.

RE: So I guess then that...
By Bateluer on 3/18/2010 12:43:28 PM , Rating: 2
HTC is an easier target than Google or Microsoft. And I believe Apple and Nokia are in the middle of a litigation spat over patent and copyright issues. Also, I think Apple and Palm had a few words as well, but Apple backed down because of Palms massive patent catalog.

RE: So I guess then that...
By Motoman on 3/18/2010 1:31:47 PM , Rating: 2
...what about LG, or any other phone manufacturers?

I'm guessing that maybe they're picking on HTC because they probably don't have nearly as deep a set of pockets as LG would. Or obviously Google.

...they might be trying to set a precedent by bullying the smallest kid on the block.

RE: So I guess then that...
By Solandri on 3/18/2010 3:22:16 PM , Rating: 2
All the major players in the phone industry (or any industry for that matter) hold extensive patent portfolios which could be grounds for suing just about any new product. This forms a sort of mutually assured destruction where it's in everyone's best interest to agree not to sue by entering cross-licensing agreements.

Apple is a new kid on the block, and thus does not have a patent portfolio. They have no leverage to get the other patent holders to grant them a license, so they're very vulnerable to being sued over the iPhone. They are trying to force themselves into these cross-licensing agreements by waving these flimsy patents around, and threatening to start a long, protracted legal battle with anyone who doesn't recognize them. HTC is probably their first target because the shallower your pockets, the more likely it is you're going to settle and cross-license rather than burn tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in a legal battle - money you won't get back even if you win and get Apple's patents invalidated.

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