back to article Apple is suing HTC

Apple has filed a lawsuit against Taiwanese manufacturer HTC, citing 20 patent infringements including UI and hardware as well as architectural design. Apple has filed suit in the US District Court, as well as the US International Trade Commission (ITC): the latter presumably in the hope of blocking HTC from importing patent- …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Gangsta


    Presumably its something to do with MultiTouch. I'm sure its Google who pressured HTC to offer that implementation though. (if it is to do with Nexus One)

    Quite how HTC infringe on other patents is news to me. (its only really TouchFLO and Hardware.)

    1. Michael C

      mostlt hardware stuff

      Next time, please actually read some data before spouting out "Presumably its something to do with MultiTouch" since if you checked, not one of the 20 is. Its all about hardware level stuff, and some simple GUI patents. Personally, I feel a few are too general, and will likely get slapped down, but most are quite specific, and will hold very strong in court, and that should be enough for HTC to step back and cross license.

      1. Phillip Webster

        @Michael C: Check better next time

        It's mostly software-related. Multiple claims against 10 patents, 7 of which are software based.

        zdnet have a nice list of them including a link to a PDF of the filing.

        US software patent trolling, again.

        Even the hardware ones can be seen as "obvious".

        Apple: Beating Microsoft at its own game since Jesus^WJobs took back over.

  2. Paul Hates Handles


    ...Apple wasn't first to do a lot of stuff... I think they're just being little bitches over a few things :D

  3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Cough! Splutter!

    "We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours"

    But wait, didn't the US courts rule that, "Apple cannot get patent-like protection for the idea of a graphical user interface, or the idea of a desktop metaphor..."

    Basically the entire "look and feel" of the Apple OS is copied from the GUI developed by Xerox and but, for the statute of limitations, Apple would have been found guilty when Xerox sued them originally.

    1. StooMonster
      Jobs Halo

      Wackypedia says (so it must be true)

      Midway through the suit, [Apple suing Microsoft] Xerox filed a lawsuit against Apple claiming Apple had infringed copyrights Xerox held on its GUIs. Xerox had invested in Apple (ie, Apple had given Xerox Board members stock in exchange for access to the research performed at PARC) and had invited the Macintosh design team to view their GUI computers at the PARC research lab; these visits had been very influential on the development of the Macintosh GUI. Xerox's lawsuit appeared to be a defensive move to ensure that if Apple v. Microsoft established that "look and feel" was copyrightable, then Xerox would be the primary beneficiary, rather than Apple. The Xerox case was dismissed because the three year statute of limitations had passed.,_Inc._v._Microsoft_Corporation

    2. Justin Clements

      here we go again...

      Go read up the history. Even the Xerox people said that the resulting project that Apple made was far in advance of what they were working on.

      Plus, Xerox got paid to allow Apple employees to look at their project. Here is the key word "paid".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      It is incorrect to say that "the entire "look and feel" of the Apple OS is copied from the GUI developed by Xerox"

      It is true that Xerox belatedly tried to sue Apple for basing *portions* of the Mac OS design and interface on Xerox's experimental work. However, this allegation was tossed out because it was far too late to reasonably make such a claim. Xerox obviously knew that, so it begs the question why they never took the case to court before and why they chose that particular moment to do so.

      Xerox did not invent the concept of a graphic user interface either - there had been many experiments along those lines. What stands out in my mind is simply that when the first Mac appeared in the shops, I had seen nothing like it (only experimental bits and pieces). It provoked extreme reactions - ranging from adulation to ridicule - and it undeniably broke new ground. It was quite some time before anything similar finally emerged.

      The appearance of the iPhone gives me a strong sense of déjà vu. Although you can point to various sources for *portions* of the iPhone, I had the same sense of seeing something very new. And now we have the inevitable replication of these ideas by any number of companies, followed by (equally inevitable) litigation. I can understand that you may not like Apple's products, ideas, or business, but you can't deny that they have been responsible for several revolutions in the computer industry.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        I like Apple but...

        Apple is basically a marketing company and their brilliance comes from their ability to spot and develop market trends - not their hardware or software, both of which mediocre and heavily derived for the work of others whose work they steadfastly refuse to acknowledge. Apple aren't alone in this by any means - go look at Visicalc (which was the product that really drove the early Apple market) and then compare it to SuperCalc.

        You can argue that Apple didn't steal their GUI only from Xerox - but you can't deny that it's derived from the Xerox work - and that Apple then tried to sue Microsoft when they developed a GUI.

        For the record, I own several Apple products but it's their claims to "superiority" that that I find annoying.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Version 1.0

      Go and research Douglas Engelbart, Ivan Sutherland, Vannevar Bush, then decide whether Xerox had a claim or not. Don't forget, they held NO patents on the tech as the board of directors has no confidence in the concept...

  4. Jorge Lopez


    It's about time! Now they need to go after google for trying to steal multi-touch in their handheld devices.

    It is funny how much their is a double standard out there. It is ok to lay claim on ones own rip off but when Apple clearly patents something companies resort to shady tactics and deny that it's Apples own tech.

    HTC is garbage anyway. I bought a phone from them back in April 2008 and the stupid device fell apart by december and all that cool looking protective compound they call "scratch resistant" smeared off on my sweaty hands.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns

      Advice for Apple self lovers

      <quote>HTC is garbage anyway. I bought a phone from them back in April 2008 and the stupid device fell apart by december and all that cool looking protective compound they call "scratch resistant" smeared off on my sweaty hands. </quote>

      Top tip for Jorge: When viewing your favourite 'specialist interest’ site don’t hold the phone in the same hand that you just used to apply the Vaseline.

    2. Michael


      As we haven't been told what the patents are then you can hardly comment on double standards. The likelihood is that it is once again bloody stupid US software patents which should be banned combined with a load of bloody obvious patents which shouldn't have been granted.

      However, I'll reserve judgement until we find out what these patents are.

    3. Adam Foxton

      Which device was it?

      I've had (from 2004 onwards) a Blue Angel, Artemis, Hermes, Kaiser and Hero so far... they're all still working (except for the Artemis which was run over by a car and suffered from a cracked touchscreen but no other maladies). I don't think I'll be buying a non-HTC phone in the foreseeable future.

      Are you sure you took off the plastic screen cover when you bought it? Which device was it?

      Also, jokes aside, Vaseline and other lubricants can have a seriously detrimental effect on fancy coatings. Alternatively, are you sure it wasn't just encrusted, dried sweat that was being washed off the screen?

      Finally, Multi-Touch wasn't an Apple invention. It's been about since the 1980s- probably even before that. Even the capacitive touch screen multitouch idea's been about for a few years more than the iPhone. They just took someone elses work, patented it and packaged it in a shiny case.

    4. Tech Hippy

      Re: hallelujah

      "It is funny how much their is a double standard out there"


    5. Anonymous Coward


      I struggle to find the words that accurately describe my disgust in you.

      Apple didn't invent multi-touch, nor pinch-zoom nor touch-anything, nor their GUI, nor many other things that you clearly swear by as being their original idea. They aren't nearly as innovative as you think. They just sell it better than most.

      As for HTC, they were creating some of the best business phones before Apple even knew that such a thing even existed. I have two of their phones: the Touch and the HD2. Both are solid as rocks and have never ever disappointed me. Just because you don't know how to use something more advanced, doesn't mean it's crap.

  5. James Whale

    Bad move

    Makes Apple look petulant, or worse, threatened.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. RegisterThis
      Thumb Up

      You hit ...

      the nail on the head ... shiny, blingy is the thing closest to Apples own heart with their devices ...

  7. Chris iverson

    OHHH Noess!!!1111

    Hey Stevie, there's a shark over there that is in need of being jumped.

  8. matt 115


    "ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s" and "reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s"

    ugh I can see it now

    "invented the tablet pc in the 2010s"

    1. Daniel B.

      Apple II

      Maybe they're talking about the Apple Computer in the 70's ... those used to be very common before the advent of the IBM PC. Most of the stuff found in Apple Computers dominated the 8-bit personal compuer market up to the 80's; see the MSX and Commodore for that.

      I do wonder if that gives Apple the right of "igniting" the PC revolution, though.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Go on then!

      Who "ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s" then? Commodore with the PET? Radioshack/Tandy? Not really. I'll concede that they warrant a mention, but in '77, it was all about the Apple //!

      What about "reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s"? Like it or not, the 1984 release of the Macintosh was extremely revolutionary. What else of note was around around the time? OK, so the ST and the Amiga - both released *after* the Mac 128k. Yes, there were GUI based computers available before hand, but the failed commercially. Not because they were crap, but because Xerox had no faith in 'em (and the board at Xerox were thinking why would a paper and printing company want to try and start a paperless revolution?) but at the time they did show others how to make computers of the future.

      I doubt they'll ever be credited with inventing the tablet, but it wouldn't be unreasonable, let's not forget that they were the first to market a tablet style device. I accept that the Newton was a commercial failure, but like Xerox's Star, it paved the way.

      I guess that what I'm trying to say is that like it or not, Apple have been instrumental in shaping the computing industry as much as any of the others and, along with Microsoft perhaps, are rightly considered the people that started the personal computer revolution.

      1. Giles Jones Gold badge


        It may have been released after the Mac, but the OS was fully pre-emptive in 1985 (Something Windows didn't get until 1995 and the Mac in 2001) and was in colour. Plus you could actually afford to buy one, they were cheaper than the Mac.

        Mac uses 400k discs, Amiga could store 880k on a disc.

        The Amiga was only 12 months or so after the Mac, but it had much more advanced hardware in many ways. It probably would have been around much sooner had it not been for Amiga Inc's problems (they were bought by Commodore).

        1. Rob


          ... the Amiga was a true multi-tasking machine which took advantage of it's RISC based chipset.

          It was with a heavy heart I read about the demise of the Amiga (Commodore), just think if they had better commercial sense where computers could be today if the Amiga platform and it's Workbench OS had been continued to be developed.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    HTC being a member of patent troll blicking club RPX, it will be interesing to see if it is money well spent.

    Apple must have realised that competing on features is not an easy job and looking for easier shortcuts.

    People talk about multi touch as one of the reasons, but Apple has been sued by Elan on the same matter and that case is not settled yet.

    Apple's move could be a good for the industry since their claims will be tested and if they are invalidated, Apple will have to learn how to compete without bullying competitors. With so many obvious software patents issued in US, this is another chance to expose how ridiculous the system became.

  10. Ross 12

    Oh fuck off, Jobs

    Just because you now have some credible competition

  11. Adam 10
    Jobs Horns

    Vexatious litigation?

    I'll bet they didn't file the case in California, the one state in the US that has rules against vexatious litigation...

    Of course, Apple invented absolutely everything in the known universe. They invented air, dontcha know. Be grateful, without the great Jobs we'd have all suffocated by now.[/sarcasm]

  12. The Other Steve

    80s revival !

    Look and feel lawsuits FTW!

    Oh, and PKB! Steal ideas from Xerox PARC much ?

  13. Anonymous Coward

    More rubbish from Steve

    SJ needs to get from up his own rear end and realise that not everyone worships the ground he walks on. And his two quips are simply laughable.

  14. Tom Kelsall
    Thumb Down

    I've said it before...

    Similar problems will end up with similar solutions. Humans' design won't be changing anytime soon, and the same HCI factors will influence GUI design. That being the case, Apple's patents on things like "MultiTouch" should be rescinded as a development of publicly available science rather than commercial innovation. The science of Human/Computer Interaction is pretty well understood and developing all the time - from lots of different directions.


    apple suing htc

    somthing tells me apple doesnt like competition with its iphone haha is it because the htc hd2 did quite well as in design features and also beat the iphone in quite a few things so i think this is just apples way of saying buy an iphone and notghing else. pathetic if you ask me theres not just the iphone out there theres plenty of other phones i quite like the htc hd2 and quite fancy one if htc do one better like a htc hd3 with a even bigger screen than the hd2 then id be more than happy to buy one instead of a iphone im not a iphone fanboy like alot of internet geeks thease days ive tried multiple phones in the past lg samsung nokia though i havent tried htc but willing to give it a go.

  16. Bottle_Cap
    Jobs Horns


    Is why I won't have anything a**le related in the house. Seriously - just GTFO jobs...

  17. Cameron Colley

    It's a shame companies have to operate in countries like this.

    I feel sorry for tech firm having to operate in the US with the amount of patent garbage out there. It's a shame the US can't just be boycotted with it's software patent trolling and anti-intellectual DMCA.

  18. DZ-Jay

    Re: Cough! Splutter!

    @Version 1.0:

    That's not quite accurate. Back in the 1980s they Apple could have sued Microsoft successfully for infringement, if it wasn't for a very ambiguous license that Scully had negotiated with Gates. Microsoft successfully argued that said license included the "look and feel", and so Apple did not win.

    Of the 189 Macintosh GUI elements reported by Apple as infringed by Windows 2.0, 179 were found by the court to be covered by the license. Only 10 of them were acknowledged as been ineligible for copyright. The concept of a Graphical User Interface and the Desktop Metaphor as a whole were of the latter kind.,_Inc._v._Microsoft_Corporation#Background


  19. James Halliday

    If HTC need to remove pinch zoom

    There's an alternate 'pin and zoom' mechanism in xScope (a rather nice browser for Android).

    Quite simply tap and tap-hold. Then slide finger to zoom screen around tap point.

    Personally much nicer than pinch zoom as can easily be done one handed, whilst holding the phone.

  20. Rom
    Big Brother


    "It's a shame the US can't just be boycotted"unpayable

    Maybe the time will soon arrive, when the dollar is no longer accepted as a global reserve currency and the US government debt becomes well known as un-payable. Going are the days when the US consumers could get their hands on nice shiny stuff made in China, in return for paper dollars (simply printed by the Federal Reserve Bank), it is already on the horizon that China is looking to off load its trillion dollar reserves without risking de-valuing the dollar even more. According to many non mainstream 'economists' we are all heading towards momentous financial changes globally in the next few years.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Android shipping 60,000 units a day

    I think Apple are getting worried.

    Skeletor will not be happy!!

  22. Lewis Mettler 1

    Apple stole IP from HP early on

    I believe it was Steve Wozniak that worked for Hp just before Apple first "invented" their original PC in the 70's. And when the schematics were known to the public for the first Apple computers what engineers saw was a HP 2640A Communications Terminal stolen from HP.

    So did Apple invent their PC. Absolutely not. They stole it from HP.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Blah, blah, blah...

      And Woz offered his designs to HP, since he was an employee and being the moral chap that he is, and they said "no ta"! So he asked if he could make it, and they said "sure!"...

  23. Tim Almond

    Not Multitouch

    One is "unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image".

    So, one might describe that as a "graphic password", yes? So, how is that different to a patent registered in 1996 for graphical passwords (

    OK, it might not be precisely the same, but it's hardly a big difference.

    Glad I kept all my music in MP3. I won't be buying anything from Apple again.

  24. deadbeef
    Thumb Down

    Patent troll alert! Another SCO wannabe

    "We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours" - said the pot calling the kettle black. Just how many things has Apple nicked then? Nokia and Kodak certainly think they have.

    Apple was last into the phone market and there is a list as long as my arm of things that they have copied from other smartphones and PDAs.

    I suspect that they are just scared of the upcoming competition from HTC with the HD2 coming to the US soon as well as upcoming Android devices. If they are going after Android then they could end up like SCO. Never upset the open source masses as they will rip you a new one.

  25. Lance 3

    End of the road is near

    "We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours," says Steve Jobs in the canned statement from Cupertino.

    That is funny since APple has admitted to stealing IP from Nokia. So why doesn't Apple invent their own technology rather than ripping other companies off?

    When Nokia sued Apple, there were plenty that said it showed desperation on the part of Nokia. I guess this shows desperation on the part of Apple.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Weren't HTC making touchscreen phones first?

    As I recall, HTC made the O2 XDA touch-screen mobile phone long before Apple made the iPhone.

  27. chuckc
    Jobs Halo


    Multitouch is indeed one of the patents in question:

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Articles like this...

    Make me glad I'm not a mod by trade. A beer for the mods that have to deal with this mess.

  29. Barry Lane 1

    Then again...

    Apple is being forced to defend its patents because Nokia is suing them for allegedly nicking theirs. Apple is as a result of Nokia's suit attempting to enforce its own patents. A case now against HTC reinforces Apple's defence of what it says are its own patents and thus makes Nokia's case look something less than valid.

    It's not rocket science but everybody here seems to have not thought that bit through. D'uh!

  30. MrHorizontal

    Writing was on the wall...

    I was wondering when this was going to happen, the writing's been on the wall for ages now, with Schmidt being booted off Apple's board, Jobs telling Google's 'No evil' mantra being BS, Google making a phone to compete with the iPhone, and what I believe seems to have been the straw that broke the camel's back: a software update enabling pinch-to-zoom multitouch on Android devices.

    Apple is going after HTC as the largest handset maker as well as the maker of the Nexus One to set the precedent that Android (which is open source and thus not sue-able) is fine, except that it can't be used in it's current guise on a smartphone. Basically, Apple are saying 'Use Android for nettops, not smartphones'.

    Succeeding here causes the precedent to build an insurmountable wall in front of Motorola (Droid) and Sony Ericsson (Satio etc) with their Android-based devices. Furthermore it may also cause Microsoft to tread carefully with Windows Phone 7 too, but since there's no Winmo7 phone on the market there's nothing there to sue against, as will Palm with WebOS (again too small a company to be of a threat to Apple).

    While a lot of bickering is going on understandably about who invented what, what Apple did with the iPhone is invent/combine* (delete as appropriate) a variety of technologies and get them working together to create what we now know as the iPhone OS as a whole. Nokia famously said at the time of the iPhone's introduction 'We could do all the stuff the iPhone does on a phone, we just didn't think about it', and that's basically what Apple is trying to protect in both its suit against HTC and Nokia.

    This is one of the issues with patents, that the whole ethos/usage model of an entire system like the iPhone OS can't be protected, only the specific cogs within it...

    I can tell you right now, Android won't die as a result of this. What the best Apple can hope to achieve (and what they want I guess) is for Android to develop it's own UI and semantics that doesn't follow the iPhone OS as closely as it does... which IMO is entirely justifiable on Apple's part.

    The suit also says something about using a DSP (in relation to a camera I think), which is probably the digital image filtering to clean up a photo image since the iPhone has such a terrible camera. This is in relation to Winmo6.5 devices, but Apple have been so behind on the mobile phone camera technology I believe this is just a smokescreen to portray the suit as not being out-and-out against Android, but a general one against HTC. Regardless, this part of it is IMO baseless and irrelevant.

    PS: El Reg, can we have Google Demon/Angel icons as well as changing Bill Gates to Steve Ballmer? A Google demon image should be tagged to this post ;)

  31. wsm
    Thumb Down

    I hereby patent the world

    Now you all owe me.

    Ever wonder if all of this will make most technology patents illegal? Other than devices and processes, there is not much defensible about many patents. But still, claiming to own an idea for pointing and touching?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course Apple would never infringe any one elses patents

    They only gave Creative Labs $100million becuase it was sitting on Stevies desk just getting in the way.

  33. Francis Vaughan

    Missing the point totally

    Egads. There is scope for research in the manner in which the mere mention of Apple causes this same drivel seen above to be trotted out every time. Right down to the usual urban myths about the early days of Apple.

    The whole point of this action is about cross licencing. It is nothing more than an continuation of the Nokia verus Apple suit. The established phone players cross license their patents. They view Apple as a newcomer, and have not admitted Apple into the club. So Nokia have gone after Apple with their 3G patents. Apple don'e see why they should pay, whilst all the other phone players don't, and have demanded admission into the club. The price of admission is patents that can be exchanged in a cross license deal. You need to have enough patents that are important enough to barter with. You can establish the value of these patents in court, or at least the threat of court.

    Apple's intent is not to force competition out of the market, their intent is to gain admission to the phone manufactures club.

  34. Neoc

    That's weird

    Wouldn't "Multi-touch" be a function of the OS, more than of the HW? So shouldn't Apple be going after Google instead of HTC?

    Or could it be that Google has more than enough money/lawyers to sink Apple in a straight-out court fight?

    1. mky

      title and registration please

      Uhmm, don't you need a touch screen to touch first?


  35. Ammaross Danan


    I just patented the "five fingered" glove. Many companies have patented a glove in which to insert a hand, and variations on it, but my patent explicitly states the need for five "tubes" in which to insert the fingers for the purpose of digit dexterity. Now I can sue everyone that makes gloves!

    Talk about patenting multi-touch and gestures....bleh.

  36. Arthur 1

    Defending these charges...

    The lawyer for HTC should just take a call on his HTC Rosella (released Feb 2002) during his opening statement, then leave.

  37. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Trolls are coming!

    The basements of the western world become a seethbing cauldron of bile and abuse as the trolls awaken from their slumbers!

  38. RegisterThis
    Thumb Down

    ... Nokia picks on us, so we pick on ...

    HTC ...

    Was it not just last month that Nokia took Apple to the ITC in the hopes it would prevent Apple being able to import the devices as a way of upping their little litigation game ...

    Seems Apple's lawyers have learned from this 'salvo' and decided to pick on Google via HTC in a similar manner.

    I guess HTC market share in the US is bigger than Nokia's and the threat from Google greater?

  39. Bugs R Us
    Gates Halo

    Just goes to show how weak iPhone is really

    Apple know they have a tiny market share compared to the likes of Blackberry. Any competition is a threat to their fragile market share. It's Apple that should improve their products to stay ahead.

    1. Barry Lane 1
      Thumb Down

      @ Bugs r us

      Er, you don't get out much, do you?

      1. Arthur 1

        @Barry Lane

        You don't read much, I guess?

        It's ironic that a quick Google could've saved you the embarrassment, but I'll help you out. Apple's market share in the smartphone sector is 15% as of Q2/2009 according to Canalys. They're behind several manufacturers, and even as an OS they only rank third, having recently surpassed Windows Mobile.

        Just because your friends all own one doesn't mean the general public is just like you. You might also note that black turtlenecks and glasses with no lenses in them don't hold quite the market share you'd expect, either.

  40. Anonymous Coward


    The iPhone name was first used by Cisco, iPad was Fujitsu. They're being sued by Nokia for infringing 10 patents with the iPhone.

    Might want to get their house in order before suing others...

  41. davefb

    these arent just anti htc

    since the os patents are anti-android and are from apple OS ,sorry , taligent and NeXT os. surely this is anti linux since android is linux based? So the comment about SCO is probably more to the point.

    I mean, patents about OS message passing, come on.

  42. David 138


    Apple and innovation? Not sure that should be in the same sentence. There OS still doesnt work, the iPod is a poor MP3 player, iPhone costs as much as a laptop, a phone and a camera and does all parts badly. The apple patent system certainly is quantity over quality.

    If people would only stop buying iPODS we could get rid of this waste of space company. I hate Marketing companies. Wouldnt mind if everything they had produced wasnt so shite, somehow it sells though.

    Then again Apple fans are easy. Its like selling pies to a fat man.

    1. Barry Lane 1
      Jobs Halo


      I was going to say something really clever but then I realised that you wouldn't be able to understand it.

    2. Random Guy



      "There (correction: their) OS still doesnt work' Please specify exactly what doesn't work. Do you use the OS? If not, how would you know?

      "The iPod is a poor MP3 player" In what sense? Why? What is a good MP3 player?

      "iPhone costs as much as a laptop, a phone and a camera and does all parts badly" Again, apart from the quality of the camera, specify!!! Have you ever owned an iPhone?

      "Selling pies to a fat man?" PLEASE!! Do you have ANY concept of Apple products?

      Why don't you post something worthwhile instead of spewing on about stuff you clearly have no understanding of.

  43. Ed 11

    Double standards

    So the tech world celebrates when someone sues Apple, but is up in arms when Apple sues someone? Strange...

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021