Apple has quite the smart phone competitor with the iPhone 4. But it's not content with merely trying to outcompete its pesky Android competitors. It wants to prevent them from even being sold on the market.
The Cupertino firm owns a wealth of IP, including some controversial patents. Among these Apple claims to have invented using a swipe gesture to unlock, mobile multitouch screens, and an interrupt based system of processor undervolting (which sounds less straightforward before you consider interrupts are the only way to instantly get a processor to stop what it's doing and change operation).
This week the company filed a second lawsuit against Android handset manufacturer HTC in Delaware District Court, citing both the gesture unlock and undervolting patents as well as two new ones, covering a "System for real-time adaptation to changes in display configuration".
Both HTC and HTC subsidiary Exedea which imports HTC handsets and distributes them in the US are named in the suit. Apple is looking to ban the importation and sale of all HTC Android handsets in the U.S.
It originally filed suit against HTC in March 2010. Company CEO Steve Jobs complains, "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."
HTC strongly disagrees with the assertion that they've stolen anything. Armed with a new IP licensing agreement with Microsoft, HTC struck back filing a countersuit in May which seeks to block the import of Apple's mobile devices, including the iPhone.
HTC has made it clear that it is primarily using IP litigation as a defensive tool. A company spokeperson states, "We are taking this action against Apple to protect our intellectual property, our industry partners, and most importantly our customers that use HTC phones."
Apple on the other hand, has a long history of trying to bully would-be competitors out of the market, both successfully and unsuccessfully. The company is facing antitrust probes over whether it used its dominant position in several markets (MP3 players, digital music, smart phone apps, tablet computers) to artificially remove smaller competitors from the market via a variety of means.