Apple's Steve Jobs

Apple today filed a lawsuit against HTC, claiming the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer infringed on 20 patents. CEO Steve Jobs, in a news release, said:

“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.”

We're awaiting official comment from HTC and are taking a look at the lawsuit. Full press release from Apple is after the break. Stay tuned.

Update: Giz was the first to track down the patents Apple says are being infringed. Added them after the break.

Update 2: Just heard back from an HTC spokesman, who said:

We only learned of Apple's actions based on your stories and Apple's press release. We have not been served yet so we are in no position to comment on the claims. We respect and value patent rights but we are committed to defending our own innovations. We have been innovating and patenting our own technology for 13 years.

Also, brings us this official statement:

“HTC is a mobile technology innovator and patent holder that has been very focused over the past 13 years on creating many of the most innovative smartphones. HTC values patent rights and their enforcement but is also committed to defending its own technology innovations. HTC only learned of Apple’s actions this morning via media reports, and therefore we have not yet had the opportunity to investigate the filings. Until we have had this opportunity, we are unable to comment on the validity of the claims being made against HTC.”

  • The ‘331 Patent, entitled "Time-Based, Non-Constant Translation Of User Interface Objects Between States," was duly and legally issued on April 22, 2008 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  • The ‘949 Patent, entitled "Touch Screen Device, Method, And Graphical User Interface For Determining Commands By Applying Heuristics," was duly and legally issued on January 20, 2009 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘949 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit B.
  • The ‘849 Patent, entitled "Unlocking A Device By Performing Gestures On An Unlock Image," was duly and legally issued on February 2, 2010 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘849 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit C.
  • The ‘381 Patent, entitled "List Scrolling And Document Translation, Scaling, And Rotation On A Touch-Screen Display," was duly and legally issued on December 23, 2008 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘381 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit D.
  • The ‘726 Patent, entitled "System And Method For Managing Power Conditions Within A Digital Camera Device," was duly and legally issued on July 6, 1999 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘726 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit E.
  • The ‘076 Patent, entitled "Automated Response To And Sensing Of User Activity In Portable Devices," was duly and legally issued on December 15, 2009 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘076 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit F.
  • The ‘105 Patent, entitled "GMSK Signal Processors For Improved Communications Capacity And Quality," was duly and legally issued on December 8, 1998 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘105 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit G.
  • The ‘453 Patent, entitled "Conserving Power By Reducing Voltage Supplied To An Instruction-Processing Portion Of A Processor," was duly and legally issued on June 3, 2008 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘453 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit H.
  • The ‘599 Patent, entitled "Object-Oriented Graphic System," was duly and legally issued on October 3, 1995 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘599 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit I.
  • The ‘354 Patent, entitled "Object-Oriented Event Notification System With Listener Registration Of Both Interests And Methods," was duly and legally issued on July 23, 2002 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘354 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit J.

Apple's full release

CUPERTINO, California—March 2, 2010—Apple® today filed a lawsuit against HTC for infringing on 20 Apple patents related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture and hardware. The lawsuit was filed concurrently with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and in U.S. District Court in Delaware.

“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,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”

Apple reinvented the mobile phone in 2007 with its revolutionary iPhone®, and did it again in 2008 with its pioneering App Store, which now offers more than 150,000 mobile applications in over 90 countries. Over 40 million iPhones have been sold worldwide.

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its revolutionary iPhone.


Reader comments

Apple files suit against HTC, alleging patent infringement [updated]


Eff you Apple. Your biggest contribution to the mobile phone was adding a shopping cart. Quit holding up progress and I hope you get sued to oblivion by Palm and HTC who were making kickass smart phones long before the iPhone was a twinkle in a trend-whore's eye.

It funny how they did not file anything for palm since they realize that "We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours." Applies to iPhone as well :D

The problem is that they are probably right: they own patents on about everything, even gestures. If Apple were the company that invented toilet paper, they would probably have patented the wiping movement. They own patents on everything, ranging from the design of the Iphone to all of its possible uses, and the gestures made for using it. Other companies have been fair enough to led everyone design interfaces using the same gestures, because it's good and intuitive for the end user. Apple, on the other hand is a cash-hungry evil company that likes to make the pile of cash they already have, grow by the minute. Apple, you disgust me. Oh before I forget, don't bite an apple once and through it away, you will get arrested for trying to copy their logo.

Apple suing another mobile development company for making bigger and better items than there's? No way... that doesn't sound like something they would do. (Sarcasm intended)

Is Steve talking about all of the patents that they use that are obviously Palms? The dialer layout, the way the phone stores contacts?

Palm has been in the business of making phones far longer than Apple, and has many patents that Apple blatantly uses in their iPhone.

Steve = hypocrite

With our great patent office it does not matter who is right or wrong but who the smaller of the two is going to win. Have you guys seen any of the Vague patents that Apple has gotten, I dont feel they should have many of them and should have to be more specific, sorry if this offends anyone but our patent office stinks.

You make a good point. Jobs brags about stealing concepts. Anyone every see "Pirates of Silicone Valley"? If it where not for the ideas of xerox, neither Microsoft nor APPLE would be here today. Then again, technology would probably not exist as we know it. Either way Jobs helped steal technology in the past and will most likely do so in the future.

And this is exactly why we in Europe fought so hard against the patenting of ideas. And we won, which is why Apple would have such a hard time trying this kind of junk against a European manufacturer.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world suffers from the predations of the likes of Apple and Microsoft.

...So, the first 2 paragraphs of this "press release" is saying that Apple is sueing HTC.

The last 2 paragraphs is a plug for Apple...

....what is apple sueing over again?...

This just proves that apple is scared to death of HTC and Android. They are hearing footsteps and there market share is slowly shrinking LOL. !!!!!!!!

What a joke. I like Apple and my MacBook... I've even think the iPhone platform is pretty decent (but it's NO Android though :P )

Seriously though... this is just ridiculous. Steve is just gettin worried that someone is gonna take the spotlight away from him.

I knew this would happen stupid apple you cant copy right the gesture unlock the you gotta sue a bunch of companys i always hate apple thos is the cherry on top if you ask me apple should be sued for a bunch of things s***w you apple i never have and will buy a product from you directly mabye if its @ a pawn shop but theres lots of other choices just s***w you apple

Am I reading that correctly?
they are suing for pretty much implicating the use of a touch screen and accelerometer?

If so, that has got to be the most bog-gas thing I have ever heard

if apple could patent displaying text on a screen and making/receiving phone calls they would. This is getting ridiculous.

my favorite is "Conserving Power By Reducing Voltage Supplied To An Instruction-Processing Portion Of A Processor" like they were the first to do this?

I have a Droid. However, threatened or not Apple does have a legitimate right to enforce what they believe is patent infringement. If HTC infringed on their patents then HTC should pay the price. Apple spent years and hundreds of millions of dollars developing innovative technologies and patents exist to encourage innovation and protect the rewards of one's efforts. If someone steals it (and that has yet to be proven, just alleged for now) they should pay. Without patents many new innovations would not exist. I would say the same comments here if HTC had patented these products and Apple took them.

Your comments on patent infringement are correct, however you cannot tell me that Apple has constructed all of their Ipods, Ipod Touches, or Iphones without "borrowing" from other companies patents or ideas...

would love to see Motorola, HTC, etc. turn around and nail Apple for various patent infringements....probably what will happen...

At the risk of feeding a troll (or being one), starting this comment with "I have a Droid" is tantamount to saying "I'm not racist, but...".

The primary discussion here is not whether or not a company should be able to defend their legal patents. I think everyone here would agree that companies *need* to be able to do so. The problem that we all have with this is A) many of these patents should *never* have been awarded to Apple in the first place and B) the only reason Apple is suing is because they are loosing ground like a skinny kid in tug-o-war.

Our patent system in America has either become corrupt or inept. Some of these patents are ridiculous. A patent is supposed to be on a very specific facet or innovation. The only innovation Apple made with the iPhone was to take the best ideas from the other mobile giants and combine them all in the same place. Reverse engineering laws in the US state that you can replicate what someone else has done, so long as you do not use any of the original components in your design.

Google has them rattled and, since their attempts to sue Google haven't gone over well, they're trying to make the manufacturers who support Android pull anchor. It's not a new tactic. Basically, Apple is telling HTC "if you're going to continue to support Android, we will make your life difficult". It's an age-old strategy. Why do you think Apple went after Android's oldest and (arguably) must popular device manufacturer? HTC made the first Android phone and has continued to make some of the the most popular Android phones in the past few years.

This game of "get patents that are so vague we'll be able to sue someone later" is not new, either. Apple has been notorious over the years of getting vague patents for things that they never actually made, just so that when someone comes out with something similar 15 years later, they can sue them. They've done it a few times before. And they weren't the first, just one of the most vocal about it.

Most big companies do stuff like this, but only Apple would get on their high horse about it knowing full well that they don't deserve most of these patents in the first place.

I like Mac OS X and Apple, but I'm getting tired of Steve Jobs and his ego. He'll patent anything just so that the competition can't use it. I remember reading when he tried suing Microsoft for using a GUI, but the court threw it out because Apple got the idea for a GUI from Xerox.

Let's not forget the iPad, I bet he'll sue Archos for patent infringement although the Archos Android Powered media Tablet was out first. There are Apple fans frothing at the mouth for his blood because the iPad was so disappointing and it was nothing like what anyone had hoped.

And look at that list of patents, some of them are way before the iPhone came out. Apple does feel threatened, they stole technology before. The problem is, it's whoever patented, trademarked, or copyrighted it first. How does that work in countries that don't have patent laws?

I bet he'll sue Google next because the next generation of iPhone will have multitasking. But he'll ignore RIM and Palm even though the BlackberryOS and webOS are multitasking as well.

Notice how he's doing it this month? Verizon, AT&T's biggest competitor, gets the Nexus One on the 23rd of this month, a phone that's a direct competitor for the iPhone. I wouldn't be surprised if he's just going to try and delay it so that he can get his fourth generation iPhone out first.

Just look at the patents dates! 1995? 1998? 1999? 2002?
iPhone wasn't born yet! Apple says it herself in her press release "iPhone in 2007"!?

And then the "unlocking a phone by using a gesture on an unlock screen" was filed on February 2, 2010... HTC had already released the HTC Hero, the Dream, the Magic, the Nexus One...
I am not a law expert, but I think that you cannot sue someone with a law that was written after the "crime" (if there is any) was committed...

Apple reinvented the Phone?? Oh, come on... There were touch screen phones long before, they were just more complicated to use, and more business targeted... And how could someone reinvent a phone which at the time didn't have MMS, Video Recorder, Bluetooth file transfer, etc... (problems that are for some still present in the current iPhone)
Apple has been in the Phone industry for 2 years... HTC has been in it for 13 years... let's not talk about RIM or Palm, who have been making great phones for a much longer time...

So all of this Apple is saying is nonsense... They are just feeling jealous because their iPhone OS looks like nothing compared to the Google Android 2.1 and HTC Sense (in the HTC Desire and Legend, and soon in the Hero...) or the Palm WebOS...

Just DON'T BE EVIL, Apple!

Its little b!tch A$$ moves like this that make me despise everything that comes from that company!! EFF U Ya PRICKS!!! I hope apple burns in hell along with all their pretentious users!!

This is exactly why i will never own an apple device. That and for music, zune is WAY better and obviously i love the android for phone!! Now if we could just get MS and Google to play nice together and crush apple.. Zune app on android would be amazing.. it will never happen, but we can dream.

Dont get me wrong Apple makes good computers, but I hate the Iphone wit a passion. They are just mad the Android is the future. And apple's OS and running software is uncomparable to the Android, my sister traded her Iphone for a Motorola Droid and is inlove, I cant wait til the Legend drops for sprint bc the Legend and Desire are gunna shut it down with 2.1 and HTC Sense. Now What Apple? lol.

No tkfox007, you're clearly not a law expert. The patent was issued in 2010, but was filed long before that, putting anyone on notice (including HTC) that bothered to look that a patent was pending on the technology.

Also, just because the various patents were issued well before the iPhone was created does not mean that the innovations are not legitimately Apple's intellectual property. Throwing around Apple is evil accusations shows you throw comments around without thinking. I am not an Apple apologist, and, as I said, if HTC had been issued these patents it would be within its rights to go after Apple if Apple had infringed.

Finally, as an Android user, what it HTC had sued Apple for infringing- would you say HTC was evil?

And you clearly can't read, you're calling out the wrong person because I never said Apple was evil. marcch is the one that said all that patent and apple is evil crap, not me. Look at the bottom of every post, just below the little gray line and you'll see the posters name.

All I said was that some of the patents were made before the iPhone. And HTC been making phones for how long? 13 years? Why didn't Apple go off an sue them during that time?

I guess you didn't understand the humour behind the "Don't Be Evil"...
"Don't Be Evil" is Google's Slogan and corporate motto ('t_be_evil - ""Don't be evil" is said to recognize that large corporations often maximize short-term profits with actions that destroy long-term brand image and competitive position." )
If you read AndroidCentral articles frequently, you should've seen this:

I am not "throwing accusations about apple being evil"... :P

Also, FYI, I have both an iPhone and an HTC Hero... You have accused me of being biased, that it's because it's Apple who's filing a patent infrigment case against HTC that I am complaining, and that if HTC had filed a patent issue I wouldn't have complained...
These patents are so vague that they can target nearly any electronic device!
"List Scrolling And Document Translation, Scaling, And Rotation On A Touch-Screen Display"??? "Conserving Power By Reducing Voltage Supplied To An Instruction-Processing Portion Of A Processor" ????
So now every touch screen phone, every laptop and tablet PC is in violation of these patents!??!

Regardless of what's been patented or who is being sued, if it goes to court Apple will have to risk having their patents revoked if it covers an "obvious" use or if there is prior art (i.e., Palm).

What it comes down to is Apple is getting somebody on its heels, making better phones. Crying uncle all of sudden. Cry baby B!$@H.

HTC should buy Palm and go after Apple for all the ideas they used of Palms. Of course Palm couldn't go after them, they don't have any money to make their phones.

About time Apple stops Google from photocopying the iPhone.

The better the Android phone the closer it is to a copy of the iPhone. Nexus one looks like an iPhone except with a redundant trackball.

Google is simply copying everything Apple has done. 2 years later its amazing that the experience still isn't as good as the iPhone.

Lots of the ideas don't seem new now, but 2 years ago when the iPhone first came out it was new.
- The idea of a phone that is nothing but a big touchscreen.
- Scrolling by swiping your finger.
- Browser that can display and entire webpage, not just a WAP version.
- Browser, double tap able to zoom into a column. Not as obvious to implement as it looks.
- On screen keyboard
- Multi-finger pinching to zoom in and out
- Touch gestures, swipe left/right to move through pictures or pages.
- Phone with an accelerometer to determine the orientation of the phone
- Touchscreen phone with a proximity sensor to detect when someone is hold the phone to their face to disable the screen
- The iPhone app store. Not tied to a phone company. Open to small developers, free SDK, developer regardless of size keeps 70% of revenue. Opened up a development platform for small developers.

Well to answer some of your narrow minded points.

The idea of a phone that is nothing but a big touchscreen.

Four Years ago I bought the HTC Wing carried by Tmobile now it was out on sprint as well Great Phone Windows Mobile 5 device!!

Scrolling by swiping your finger.

Hell they have had that on Touch Screen monitors for about 12 years ViewSonic should sue Apple

Browser that can display and entire webpage, not just a WAP version
Windows Mobile 5 Did this!!! Hmmm we go back to Microsoft

The iPhone app store. Not tied to a phone company. Open to small developers, free SDK, developer regardless of size keeps 70% of revenue. Opened up a development platform for small developers.

Nokia had something like this 4+ years ago and really Open Dev? come on you have to submit your application to apple and they can reject it or allow it and if they reject it you can not take it to the people

Apple is just wanting part of the growing revenue that the andoid market is pushing. It is growing faster then anyone thought, more companies are coming on board and developing hardware for the platform.

Who's being narrow minded?
I like the iPhone, I like Android. I'm not an Apple hater.
Thats all you can come up with? If you can't refute all the items, Apple has a case.

The point about the appstore is that its structured to encourage small developers and not favor large developers.

Like it or not, everyone has run around copying everything Apple does. Then claim its not innovative. If it wasn't so great, why is everyone running around copying Apple now. Why didn't Google come up with any of this stuff before the iPhone 3 years ago? Everyone now has an appstore structured very closely to apples. Gee, I wonder how Google decided to charge 30%.

I am not here to argue their case for them or against them I am not an attonery. What I am doing is argue your view on how apple made the smart phone what it is today. And I am more then happy to point out the fact that you and people like you are sorely mistaken with the thought that apple invented the touch screen phone or the on screen keyboard or many of the other items you spout out like fact.

Apple Built a device that was not a new Idea but an updated idea based on items in the past, Items that HTC, Palm, and several others had already on the market.

Apple just made it look cool and made it trendy. The first phone with a large screen on screen display layout of the dialer that apple and android uses was Handspring back about 9 years ago those patents are owned by Palm now.

So get off the trendy bandwagon and look at history before you start spouting off crap.

I am not for or against this lawsuit You all just need to think about what you say before you say it.

Don't get in a huff. Chill. 'Trendy', 'closed minded'. I'm all for rational discussion, but I certainly don't see any supporting facts regarding 'trendy bandwagon'. Meanwhile you mention touchscreen dialer. I never said that was new. Why don't you challenge some of the things I did note as new. If any of them are new and Apple has them patented, then they have a case.

Just for the record, Google didn't "invent" Android to copy iOS. They actually bought a company that had been working on developing Android for a few years when the first iPhone came out.

Writing an operating system of this size doesn't happen over-night. Android was in development years before iOS was released. That's not to say that iOS couldn't have been in development first, but Android wasn't designed based as a "copy" of iOS.

So Google by creating Chrome is copying Apple because they had Safari out first? I would hardly call creating a touchscreen phone copying Apple.

Actually, ya. Chrome is based on webkit which Apple worked on and submitted as an open source project in 2005. Safari is also based on webkit. Now practically every smartphone is using webkit.

to continue on from where Daedalus left off

Multi-finger pinching -> Microsoft 2006
Touch gestures, again -> Microsoft 2006
On Screen keyboard, -> you could get that with Windows XP table late 99 early 2000 if I remember correctly
Proximity Sensor. Well if that is true and I would have to see documentation on that, then thumbs up for Apple for creating that, but I have never seen that on any iPhone.

Grant it some of the above mentioned are not on a phone but the idea was still there and used on a different platform.

Lest we not forget that Microsoft a 25 million dollar bail out in the early 90's so Apple wouldn't go under leaving a main stream Monopoly to Microsoft's OS.

Apple didn't come up with anything new. They improved on existing designs and technologies with the iPhone. I think it's strange that some of the patents Apple is claiming were infringed upon were granted so recently. It smells fishy to me. Apple makes well designed hardware, but none of it is earth-shattering. I think they are feeling the pressure from Google, and they are trying to put a monkey-wrench into everything. I doubt this will amount to much.

You know it's terrible that Apple gets all these vague patents created that basically make it impossible for anyone else to make a touch screen device without infringing on at least one of these patents. What's funny is that they claim to be doing it to encourage creativity while they have clearly copied the android drag-down notifications bar. Now watch them get a vague patent for that gesture and sue google.

I'll echo an earlier, I think objective poster's comment with a prelude that I have a droid and love it, as in I'm not racist but... If I came up with an invention, and that invention became wildly popular, and then everyone else copied it, I would sue the f*@k out of everyone too. The iPhone really was the first phone of its kind. Sure the idea of a touch-screen phone was floating around, but the powers that were at companies other than at Apple decided there wouldn't be a market for it (I have a friend at Nokia who tells me this). Apple made it happen, designed the hardware, created an elegant interface for it, and it just worked. Suddenly everyone has a phone that looks and feels a heckuvalot like Apple's. Finally the ITC is awarding Apple victory in its, I think completely justifiable defense of its patents. Suddenly Eric Schmidt and HTC is saying Apple would rather sue than innovate. I mean really, didn't Apple already innovate? Maybe they meant that Apple should innovate more so they can copy more. Meanwhile we're all benefiting from Eric Schmidt and HTC stealing Apple's ideas and putting them to use in the Google cloud paradigm. Which is awesome. Even though I'm a fan of Android, I think Schmidt is a schmuck. I was hoping it wasn't going to shape out like this, and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth knowing a lot of the stuff I love about it is actually stolen IP.