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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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