HTC/Apple Patent Battle Lands In London

The HTC/Apple patent war has crossed the Atlantic with HTC filing against Apple in the High Court

HTC’s legal wrangle with Apple has arrived in the UK with the Taiwanese phone maker filing a complaint to the High Court, reports Bloomberg.

Notice of the suit, filed on Friday, did not state its nature, which will only be revealed by the court when Apple formally acknowledges the complaint.

The companies have been locked in a tit-for-tat legal battle in the US over patents since March, when Apple fired the first salvo with a complaint to the US International Trade Commission (ITC) that HTC had violated 20 patents.

To me, to you

Apple claimed HTC infringed on technology used in the iPhone’s user interface and “underlying hardware and architecture” with the Google Nexus One handset.

It followed this up in June with a suit claiming two further violations relating to what Apple described as a “system for real-time adaptation to changes in display configuration” before filing a fresh law suit to include newer HTC devices in July.

In between, however, HTC filed a patent infringement suit of its own, asking the ITC to ban Apple from selling iPods and iPads and iPhones in the US.

The ITC has the power to ban the import of goods to the US that are found to violate patents.

Mutually Assured Destruction

Apple and HTC have each scored preliminary victories in the US, which if formally upheld later in the year could ban HTC from selling its Android phones and tablets in the country and ban Apple from selling Mac desktop and laptops because OS X was found to infringe on patents held by S3 graphics, which HTC is taking over in a seperate suit.

Thus, at its most extreme the back and forth of lawsuits could see the two heading toward mutually assured destruction.

However, patent disputes are always settled before they reach that level, something HTC showed it recognises when,  just days before filing the UK lawsuit, its CFO said in an interview with Bloomberg that HTC and Apple “have to sit down and figure it out”.

Apple has been locked in similar intellectual-property battles with Motorola and Samsung, both of which offer a variety of tablets and smartphones running Android, which has grown into a more than credible competitor to the iPhone and iOS.