Apple today filed a lawsuit against mobile devices maker HTC, which makes the Google phone. The suit claims infringement of 20 patents related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture, and hardware.
In the release, Steve Jobs says, “We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it…We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”
HTC was the first company to manufacture an Android-based phone. It is now building the Nexus One for Google which it sells directly to consumers, putting Google in direct competition with Apple in the smartphone business.
It looks like the Nexus One, and other HTC phones, may have hit too close to home for Steve Jobs.
Earlier, we supposed that Apple’s multi-touch user interface could be the basis for the lawsuit. But after examining the complaint, it appears that Apple is NOT suing over multitouch, but rather a bunch of other software. (When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, he touted its multitouch screen, then said, “And boy, have we patented it.”)
Meanwhile, Apple is already tied up in a patent lawsuit with Nokia, claiming Nokia is stealing Apple technology. Nokia says Apple is stealing its technology. Kodak is also suing Apple claiming technology theft.
Basically, Apple’s patent lawyers are going to be busy for the next year or so.
Here’s Steve introducing multitouch:
*The original post was updated to reflect that patents in suit are not related to the iPhone’s multi-touch user interface.