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HTC is fighting for its survival against a lawsuit-zealous Apple.  (Source: Reuters / Pichi Chuang)
Is Apple trying to kill the free market? HTC's law team thinks so

HTC Corp.'s (SEO:066570) general counsel, Grace Lei, issued a scathing analysis of competitor Apple, Inc. (AAPL) to the Agence France Press (AFP), commenting, "HTC is disappointed at Apple's constant attempts at litigations instead of competing fairly in the market. HTC strongly denies all infringement claims by Apple in the past and present and reiterates our determination and commitment to protect our intellectual property rights."

Those harsh words come as the gadget maker is fighting for its very survival in the face of Apple's legal harassment.  Apple is seeking a temporary injunction that would block shipments of product in the U.S., essentially killing HTC's sales.

Apple chief Steve Jobs accuses HTC and other Android phone makers of conspiring to "steal" "innovation" from his iPhone.  He claims that Android phone makers copied the iPhone's look, which was protected under a design patent.  He also claims Android phone makers infringed on his company's patent on undervolting a CPU via interrupt and on multi-touch gestures such as the "pinch" movement.  Apple has sued HTC in multiple countries.

HTC has vigorously defended itself, complaining that Apple's patents are overly generic and obvious.  It has filed countersuit against Apple.

Apple is also suing Motorola Solutions Inc. (MSI) and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (SEO:005930), the other two biggest manufacturers of Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android operating system.  Android smart phones outsold Apple's iPhone over 2 to 1 globally in the last quarter.

HTC rose from relative obscurity by becoming one of the first phone makers to wholeheartedly embrace Android.  Today it is one of the most prominent Android phone makers on the market.

The AFP report contains a minor error in that it states that Apple and Finland's Nokia (HEL:NOK1V) are currently suing each other.  Those suits have actually been settled by both parties under a licensing agreement.



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RE: Sue happy
By robinthakur on 7/13/2011 5:05:51 AM , Rating: 2
I do agree, Apple should have sued a long long time ago back when the iPhone and 3G came out and all those other touch based 'competitors' were released. I suppose they weren't really seen as a threat then, as none of them were worth a damn.

Having said that, since the Samsung Galaxy S, I have noticed that the other manufacturers are aping the design of the iPhone and Pad alot more closely, probably because they know that Apple's designs sell themselves based on their looks. As none of their alternative attempts at similar branding have been successful thus far, the strategy of outright copying the look of their competitors was a winning strategy upto the point that the lawsuits started flying.

Those that question whether a Galaxy S looks like a knocked off iPhone 3GS or whether a Galaxy 2 looks like a rip off iPhone4 (this is true for many other manufacturers also) need to take a step back and consider the similarities of both designs to a lay person and enumerate the number of ways they differ without close analysis. This problem is unique to Apple because it alone is known for its design-work, and that rightfully should be protected, in my opinion. While many of the design USP's might now be obvious in hindsight, did they occur in the market before Apple implemented them? If not, then it is entirely correct for Apple to sue, and people shzould not be blinded by their hatred of Apple or Steve Jobs not to realise this.


RE: Sue happy
By Strunf on 7/13/2011 7:35:32 AM , Rating: 5
Do you realize the LG Prada was the FIRST smart-phone with capacitive touchscreen? maybe they should have sued Apple when they released the iPhone.

The fact was that by the end of 2006 EVERYONE was planing on touchscreen phones, Apple announced the iPhone on january cause they knew the next month there was going to be a major phone exposition where everyone else would be showing touchscreen phones. They did it with their usual efficient marketing campaign in a way they seemed to be first when LG was the real first and Apple was just following the trend!


RE: Sue happy
By Gurthang on 7/18/2011 11:54:00 AM , Rating: 2
IMHO the design patent is bogus. Any touch screen phone will have as large a screen as big as they can fit with a few tactile buttons sprinkled around the body for use when the phone is asleep or in use against your face. The design is so obvious and is essentially a rip-off of the orginal PDA designs of many moons ago only now they have a phone built in.

Do some devices get unconfortabily close to the iPhone "look", sure but are they so close that you cannot tell them apart. No. Are they ripping off Apple? Only the designers know but sometimes things are similar just because they have to be.


"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer














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