Apple has lots of cash in the bank, and it apparently isn’t going to be shy about using it to hire lawyers: the company today filed suit against Taiwanese phone maker HTC—who incidentally makes the Google Nexus One—claiming HTC infringes on 20 Apple patents related to the iPhone’s interface, hardware, and architecture. Apple says several HTC devices—including the Nexus One—infringe on its technology. Apple filed its claim in both a Delaware court and with the International Trade Commission; the ITC is more likely to be the first to hear the complaint and potentially take action.
“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,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs, in a statement. “We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”
Apple has previously said it has filed more than 200 patents related to the iPhone.
Apple is currently embroiled in a patent battle with Nokia, the world’s largest maker of mobile phones. Nokia sued Apple for patent infringement, using the same technique of filing a standard infringement suit and filing a complaint with the ITC. Apple in turn countersued Nokia, claiming the Finnish company infringes on 13 Apple patents, not just in its phone but in its software development tools.
The patent battles highlight the increasing competition amongst phone makers to capture market share—and patent licensing fees—as consumers increasingly migrate from simple feature-phones to Internet-capable, application-running smartphones.