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Inside Apple's lawsuit against HTC: Nexus One, myTouch cited


Apple has charged handset maker HTC with infringing upon a number of patented iPhone hardware and software features, alleging that functionality within the Google Android operating system and use of hardware decoders in Windows Mobile handsets are at fault.

A number of HTC-made phones are included as exhibits in Apple's legal claims filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission Tuesday. The phones in question include both Windows Mobile and Google Android handsets. They are:

  • Nexus One
  • Touch Pro
  • Touch Diamond
  • Touch Pro2
  • Tilt II
  • Pure
  • Imagio
  • Dream
  • myTouch 3G
  • Hero
  • HD2
  • Droid Eris.

The complaint even goes as far as to specifically distinguish between Android and non-Android handsets, suggesting Google's mobile operating system plays a part in the alleged patent infringement. While Android-based phones are labeled "Accused HTC Android Products" in the suit, phones that run on Windows Mobile are given the label "Accused HTC DSP products," referring to the digital signal processing hardware decoders found in those devices.

Earlier this year, HTC partnered with Google to create the Nexus One smartphone, which was later given multi-touch functionality — much like has been possible for years on the iPhone — through a software update. A year ago, HTC also introduced an Android handset with an iPhone-like virtual keyboard known as the Magic or myTouch 3G. Both the Nexus One and myTouch 3G are specifically named in Apple's complaint. HTC also makes the lion's share of Windows Mobile phones.

Also submitted as evidence were an iPhone 3GS and MacBook Pro running Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and Apple's iTunes software.

"Apple's history of launching products that are technically innovative and commercially successful stems from its ongoing commitment to research and development," the suit reads. "Throughout its history, Apple has made substantial investments in research and development in a wide variety of technical fields including computer hardware and software, graphical and touch-based user interfaces, digital media players, and personal communications."

The suit alleges that at issue are patents related to "software architectures, frameworks, and implementations, including various aspects of software used to implement operating systems."

The Cupertino, Calif., company has asked the ITC to ban the sale of all HTC handsets in the U.S., and also to issue a permanent cease and desist order preventing the company from distributing, selling, licensing or advertising its smartphones.

When contacted by Engadget, an HTC spokesperson said the company was caught by surprise by Tuesday's legal challenge.

"We have not been served yet so we are in no position to comment on the claims," the company said in a statement. "We respect and value patent rights but we are committed to defending our own innovations. We have been innovating and patenting our own technology for 13 years."

In addition to the ITC filing, Apple also issued roughly 700 pages in its accompanying lawsuit filed in a U.S. District Court in Delaware Tuesday.