HTC Fires Back At Apple, Countersuing To Block U.S. Sales of iPad, iPod, And iPhone

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HTC on Wednesday said it has filed suit against Apple in an attempt to block importation of Apple products, including iPhone, iPad and iPod, in the U.S. The move is a countersuit following a two-month-old Apple suit against HTC over alleged patent violations. HTC's suit, which was filed with the U.S. international Trade Commission (ITC), alleges that it's Apple that's in violation of as many as five HTC patents.

HTC did not publicly identify the patents in question Wednesday.

"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 for HTC, in a statement announcing the suit. "We are taking this action against Apple to protect our intellectual property, our industry partners and most importantly our customers that use HTC phones."

Apple's suit against HTC, filed in early March, accuses HTC of infringing on 20 Apple-held patents that focus on the user interface Apple uses for the iPhone, as well as some elements of its hardware and architecture.

The claim, as articulated in a statement by Apple CEO Steve Jobs at the time, was that HTC stole Apple's intellectual property to create smartphones and that Apple can "sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it."

In mid-March, HTC responded to the suit, saying that HTC would "fully defend itself."

Google, whose Android operating system runs on a number of the phones Apple targeted in its lawsuit, told media outlets that Google "stand[s] behind our Android operating system and the partners who have helped us to develop it." Google is seen by many observers as Apple's real target in the lawsuit against HTC, given the recently heated competition between the two technology giants.

The ITC said in early April it would investigate Apple's complaint against HTC.

Apple is a focus in a number of major lawsuits alleging patent infringement, including by Nokia -- against whom Apple countersued -- and Kodak.

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