Apple vs. HTC

Last March Engadget reported on a lawsuit that Apple was filing against HTC for infringement on 20 iPhone patents. The suit was not even processed through the court system yet and HTC found out about it through the Engadget website. Well just yesterday HTC announced in a press release that they are suing Apple over five patent infringements by Apple products to halt the importation and sale of the iPhone, iPad and iPod in the United States.

This was HTC’s official press release:

Seattle – May 12, 2010 – HTC Corporation today took legal action against Apple Inc., filing a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) to halt the importation and sale of the iPhone, iPad and iPod in the United States.

“As the innovator of the original Windows Mobile PocketPC Phone Edition in 2002 and the first Android smartphone in 2008, HTC believes the industry should be driven by healthy competition and innovation that offer consumers the best, most accessible mobile experiences possible,” said Jason Mackenzie, vice president of North America, HTC Corporation. “We are taking this action against Apple to protect our intellectual property, our industry partners, and most importantly our customers that use HTC phones.”

HTC’s commitment to innovation has continued for more than a decade as it has focused on building a portfolio of the world’s most advanced smartphones that are inspired by consumers and provide them with a variety of choices in software, design, form-factor, price and wireless carrier.  Today, consumers in the United States can choose between 12 HTC smartphones with the national wireless carriers.  HTC has continuously strived to bring innovative smartphone choices to consumers, like the recently unveiled HTC EVO 4G with Sprint, DROID Incredible by HTC with Verizon Wireless and the HTC HD2 with T-Mobile.  For more information on HTC’s long-standing commitment to consumers innovation and choice go to:

About HTC
HTC Corporation (HTC) is one of the fastest growing companies in the mobile phone industry. By putting people at the center of everything it does, HTC creates innovative smartphones that better serve the lives and needs of individuals. For more information about HTC, please visit

It seems that this is in response to last March’s Apple suit over HTC on the 20 iPhone patents. Click here for the Engadget breakdown of the patents. Engadget also breaks down the patents in question of the HTC vs. Apple case. Since there are only five, I’ll list them here:

Patent #6,999,800 – Method for power management of a smartphone: HTC’s asserting seven of the 14 claims in this patent, which covers independently switching the phone and PDA subsystems of a smartphone between off, standby, and normal in order to conserve power. This one obviously only concerns the iPhone and potentially the iPad 3G, since this patent only covers devices that have a “mobile phone system” — the ITC will have to decide if the iPad 3G’s data modem falls into that definition.

Patent #5,541,988 – Telephone dialler with a personalized page organization of telephone directory memory: These next three are related, as they were split apart from a single original patent application. ‘988 here has some 32 claims, of which HTC is only asserting two against Apple — the first is a speed dial system with open and locked banks of numbers that requires an access control to get at the private bank, and the second involves scanning through a list of stored numbers with a “scan manipulation device.” Obviously the ITC will have to decide if the iPhone’s screen meets that definition.

Patent #6,058,183 (PDF) Telephone dialler with a personalized page organization of telephone directory memory: This one also has to do with the phone dialer, obviously — HTC is alleging three claims out of 32, which covers operating a telephone dialer with memory organized into multiple directories composes of pages, moving between the pages with a “page selection device,” scanning through the telephone information on the page, selecting the number, and placing a call or adding a number using the numeric keypad. It’s hard to see how the iPod and either iPad fall under some of these claims, since they can’t place calls.

Patent #6,320,957
– Telephone dialler with easy access memory: The third of the dialing troika. ‘957 has 44 total claims, of which HTC alleges Apple infringes eight, covering essentially the same territory as the others: a dialer with memory that’s organized into pages that can be accessed by ID numbers that can be displayed on the screen, as well as matching caller ID information to the address book and displaying the names on the screen. Again, it’s hard to see how the iPod or either iPad would infringe some of these claims, since they can’t place or receive calls.

Patent #7,716,505 (PDF) – Power control methods for a portable electronic device: This one was just granted yesterday — we get the feeling HTC was waiting on it before filing the ITC complaint. It only has four total claims, and HTC’s alleging Apple infringes three. They cover moving data from RAM to flash and cutting power to the RAM, CPU and flash when the battery amount falls below a certain level and restoring operation once the battery is charged back up, and turning back on when an input signal is received. We honestly don’t know if Apple’s devices work this way, but those are the claims — and this one could potentially cover the iPod and iPad as well, so we can see why HTC would wait on it to be granted.

Engadget full article that examines HTC’s complaints here.

It remains to be seen what is going to happen. Apple might have bitten off more than it could chew. If memory serves correct, HTC should have backing from Google and Microsoft since they’re partners in their products; Android and Windows Mobile respectively. Actually Google issued a statement to TechCrunch: “We are not a party to this lawsuit. However, we stand behind our Android operating system and the partners who have helped us to develop it.”

While nothing has been resolved to date, the US International Trade Commission will sure be busy in the coming months. Counter-suits usually up the stakes, but HTC  really up the ante on this one by requesting a ban on Apple products.

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