I know I wasn’t the only person who watched in bemused disbelief when news came out early this month that Apple was suing HTC, arguably one of the world’s most innovative smartphone hardware manufacturers, for infringing upon 20 of their patents. Almost immediately, Engadget had a list of every claim where Apple was crying foul, and they were kind enough to translate the jargon-filled legal lingo so that those of us without law degrees could understand that Apple was suing over items ranging from HTC’s use of “List Scrolling And Document Translation, Scaling, And Rotation On A Touch-Screen Display” to “Message protocol for controlling a user interface from an inactive application program” (a type of multitasking Engadget says is directly related to Android more than HTC specifically), to “Automated Response To And Sensing Of User Activity In Portable Devices”, and a slew of other items. In other words, Apple found it unacceptable that HTC phones scrolled a certain way, could multitask a certain way, could tell when you were talking or when you were looking at the screen and about to tap in info (evidenced by whether the screen would go dark or it would go live and input would register) … on and on it went. It appeared as if Apple was taking the approach that they should throw everything at HTC in hopes that something would stick.
As Gizmodo pointed out, Apple playing the lawsuit bully over these particular items may sound familiar “because Nokia’s being accused of the same thing, and Apple had similar nasty comments for Palm as well, though they haven’t led to a lawsuit (yet).” Sure, Apple has a right to protect their intellectual property and designs, but some of these items seem incredibly vague.
I’ve been waiting to hear how HTC would respond, and tonight they have …
HTC DISAGREES WITH APPLE’s Actions
Seattle – March 17, 2010 – HTC Corporation today outlined its disagreement with Apple’s legal actions and reiterated its commitment to creating a portfolio of innovative smartphones that gives consumers a variety of choices. Founded in 1997 with a passion for innovation and a vision for how smartphones would change people’s lives, HTC has continually driven this vision by consistently introducing award-winning smartphones with U.S. mobile operators.
“HTC disagrees with Apple’s actions and will fully defend itself. 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,” said Peter Chou, chief executive officer, HTC Corporation. “From day one, HTC has focused on creating cutting-edge innovations that deliver unique value for people looking for a smartphone. In 1999 we started designing the XDA
The O2 XDA by HTC was the first 3.5-inch color touch screen smartphone in the world in 2002 and T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition The T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition by HTC was the first 3.5-inch color touch screen smartphone in the United States in 2002., our first touch-screen smartphones, and they both shipped in 2002 with more than 50 additional HTC smartphone models shipping since then.”
The industry has recognized HTC’s contributions through a variety of awards including Fast Company’s 2010 Top 50 Most Innovative Companies and MIT Technology Review’s 2010 50 Most Innovative Companies. The GSMA also recently awarded the HTC Hero as the “Best Phone of 2009.” Some of HTC’s technology firsts include:
- First Windows PDA (1998)
- First Windows Phone (June 2002)
- First 3G CDMA EVDO smartphone (October 2005)
- First gesture-based smartphone (June 2007)
- First Google Android smartphone (October 2008)
- First 4G WIMAX smartphone (November 2008)
In 2009, HTC launched its branded user experience, HTC Sense. HTC Sense is focused on putting people at the center by making phones work in a more simple and natural way. This experience was fundamentally based on listening and observing how people live and communicate.
“HTC has always taken a partnership-oriented, collaborative approach to business. This has led to long-standing strategic partnerships with the top software, Internet and wireless technology companies in the industry as well as the top U.S., European and Asian mobile operators,” said Jason Mackenzie, vice president of HTC America. “It is through these relationships that we have been able to deliver the world’s most diverse series of smartphones to an even more diverse group of people around the world, recognizing that customers have very different needs.”
For more information on HTC’s history of innovation, please visit:.
HTC Corporation (HTC) is one of the fastest growing companies in the mobile phone industry. By putting people at the center of everything it does, HTC creates innovative smartphones that better serve the lives and needs of individuals. For more information about HTC, please visit www.htc.com.
Yeah, this response is pretty vague when you consider the array of allegations Apple has made, but I am sure that HTC felt they needed to say something, even thought they have probably been instructed to say little to nothing due to the pending litigation. I would imagine that this drama is ultimately going to be played out behind closed doors with each company’s respective legal teams, but I will find it interesting to see which points (if any) HTC concedes upon, and how much egg (if any) will be on Apple’s face at the end of the day.
I have to admit that Apple’s rabid litigiousness leaves a bad taste in my mouth; this is certainly not the first we have seen of Apple’s love for a legal tussle, nor I’m sure will it be their last. In any case, it makes them look pretty hostile and angry – which is surely not the image Jobs and company honestly intend to project. Or do they? I am starting to wonder. 😛