Nexus One Maker Tells Apple ‘We Did Touchscreens First’

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Responding to Apple’s patent claim against the Nexus One, HTC says it made touchscreen phones five years before Apple did

HTC, the maker of Google’s Nexus One phone, has issued a release saying it will defend itself against a law suit which alleges the phone breaks Apple patents.

The HTC release points to the company’s experience in phones, including touchscreen devices which pre-date the Apple iPhone, and promises to defend itself in court should the need arise, following the announcement that Apple is suing HTC for infringement of patents used in the iPhone.

HTC claims touchscreen skills

“HTC disagrees with Apple’s actions and will fully defend itself,” said Peter Chou, chief executive officer of HTC in the release. “HTC strongly advocates intellectual property protection and will continue to respect other innovators and their technologies as we have always done, but we will continue to embrace competition through our own innovation as a healthy way for consumers to get the best mobile experience possible.”

Chou referred to HTC’s long experience in smartphones, which until recently were largely released under operators’ or other vendors’ brands. In 1999 the company started work on touch screen phones, resulting in the launch of two Microsoft-based touch-enabled phones in 2002 – the XDA and the T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition (left) – five years before the launch of the Apple iPhone.

Since then HTC has built more than 50 smartphone models, said Chou.

The statement promises a strong defence, but will need more detail, as HTC’s 2002 touchscreen phones were stylus driven, and lacked many other elements found in both the iPhone and the Nexus One – as well as other phones based on Google Android operating system.

Apple’s suit is aimed at Google

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Apple’s suit of HTC is widely seen as a move against Google, to head off a threat from the Nexus One phone, which was hotly awaited before its January launch. The Nexus on was well reviewed, and tipped as a potential threat to the Apple iPhone.

Since then, Nexus One sales have been disappointing and expectations seems to be dampened, although there is still excitement about the phone’s delayed arrival in the UK.

eWEEK Europe already has a SIM-free Nexus One phone, and will offer it to UK subscribers to our newsletter in a prize draw.

While HTC has been hit by a patent suit over the Nexus One technology, Google has been unable to trademark the Nexus One name, as another company already has a telecoms-related trademark for the word Nexus.

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