HTC levels new infringement suit at Apple

iPad 2

HTC might have been making polite overtures to Apple lately about resolving the companies’ high-stakes and complex patent litigation, but the company seems to have returned to the tried-and-true legal tactic of putting more pressure on its opponent. Reuters reports HTC has filed a new infringement suit against Apple in the U.S. District Court in Delaware, claiming all of Apple’s major hardware product lines—iPods, iPads, iPhones, and even Macs—infringe on three HTC patents.

As is typical with infringement suits, HTC is asking that allegedly infringing products be barred from import in to the United States; HTC is also asking for triple damages and other compensation.

One of the patents in HTC’s lawsuit was developed by HTC and involves connecting a PDA to a wireless communications system. The other two patents in the suit involve mobile communications technology patents that came from ADC Technologies, which HTC acquired back in April for $75 million.

The lawsuit is the latest in a complex series of suits between the two companies, which the industry is viewing as a bit of a battle-by-proxy over Google’s Android platform—which Google may have just tried to protect with its announced $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility. So far, Google has yet to confront Apple directly over patent issues related to Android, but that day may be coming soon: Apple and Motorola also have a complex web of infringement suits and countersuits between them.

HTC’s decision to quickly go after Apple with patents acquired from ADC Technologies may also be a harbinger of legal action to come: HTC recently just announced plans to acquire S3 Graphics, and the U.S. International Trade Commission has issued a preliminary ruling that Apple’s Mac OS X—though not iOS—violates two S3 Graphics patents.

Neither Apple nor HTC have commented on the latest lawsuit.

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