Apple Smacks HTC to Strike Google

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fight_small.jpgADOTAS – Apple whipped out its patent portfolio and said HTC was in violation of 20 of them suckers. A suit was filed not only with the U.S. District Court in Delaware, but also the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) — an interesting wrinkle as the ITC doesn’t reward damages but does block importation, which might be a problem for Taiwan-based HTC.

HTC is one of the largest manufacturers of handsets powered by Google’s Android OS, as well as the hardware-maker of Google’s Nexus One. The company debuted three souped-up phones at the Mobile Web Conference in Barcelona last month.

Apple is also in a patent-related legal brush-up with Nokia. Steve Jobs, never one to mince words, told the press: “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. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.

But the suit seems to be a backdoor way to punch Google in the gut. The impetus of the suit seems to be Google enabling multi-touch support Android devices, the handy-dandy pinch and zoom toggle that Apple could once boast as exclusive to the iPhone. Apparently HTC smartphones have had the juice for multi-touch for a while, but it wasn’t till Google turned on the switch that Apple started grumbling.

Google will be sitting in HTC’s corner of the ring with a towel and a spit cup for blood (and there will be blood). “We are not a party to this lawsuit,” a company spokesperson emailed TechCrunch. “However, we stand behind our Android operating system and the partners who have helped us to develop it.”

Then Google whispered in HTC’s ear, “You’re gonna eat lightnin’ and you’re gonna crap thunder!”

But the beating HTC takes could have drastic long-term consequences for the company as carriers get the upper hand in negotiations because of HTC’s lawsuit risk.

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