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Monday, November 07, 2011, 12:49 pm PT (03:49 pm ET)

Apple court filing takes HTC to task over superfluous comma

In an amusing example of Apple's attention to detail, a new court filing from the company corrected a punctuation error made by rival HTC.

Apple's correction of HTC was found within what was characterized as an "otherwise boring document" by Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents. He discovered that Apple took issue with a filing from HTC that referred to the company as "Apple, Inc."

"Apple denies that its correct name is Apple, Inc.," Apple's response reads. "The correct name of Respondent is Apple Inc."

The humorous exchange was part of a response filed by Apple last week with the U.S. International Trade Commission. The document is Apple's rebuttal to a second lawsuit filed by HTC with the ITC in August, in which it has again accused Apple of patent infringement.

Attention to detail on all things, including, as in this case, an incorrect comma, is of course a defining characteristic of Apple products. The trait was instilled in the company by its late co-founder, Steve Jobs, who amassed a portfolio of over 300 patents in his time at Apple.

Apple first sued HTC in 2010, accusing it of infringing on 20 patents related to the iPhone's user interface, underlying architecture and hardware. The ITC made an initial ruling in July in which it sided with Apple and indicated HTC's handsets could be in violation of two of Apple's patents.

HTC


HTC has fired back with its own lawsuits, including the one from which the comma dispute occurred. This year, HTC also bought S3 Graphics, a company that won an ITC ruling in July after a judge found Apple's Mac OS X operating system was in violation of two S3 patents.

While the question of a comma in Apple's corporate name might be good for a laugh, the stakes are high for Apple, HTC and the rest of the smartphone industry. One analysis has suggested a victory for Apple over HTC could set a high royalty precedent for Android devices, similar to the $5 per unit that Microsoft is believed to collect on the sale of HTC Android hardware, though Jobs himself suggested Apple has no intention of settling.