Apple Sues HTC in Battle of Smart Phone Makers

By Caroline Dobson
Caroline Dobson
Caroline Dobson
July 13, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015

Apple Inc. has sued Taiwanese phone maker HTC Corp., accusing one of its top competitors in the smart phone market of stealing its touch-screen technology. (Sam Yeh & Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Apple Inc. has sued Taiwanese phone maker HTC Corp., accusing one of its top competitors in the smart phone market of stealing its touch-screen technology. (Sam Yeh & Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Technology giant and iPhone maker Apple Inc. has sued Taiwanese phone maker HTC Corp., accusing one of its top competitors in the smart phone market of stealing its touch-screen technology and other functionality, according to a post from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).

This lawsuit, which was filed on July 8, is a separate complaint to the lawsuit filed last year against HTC with the ITC, whereby HTC also countersued Apple about breaching patent claims.

Apple’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs publicly announced the company’s determination to seek legal action.

"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," Jobs said in a statement.

The ITC has the jurisdiction to issue an order to a company to legally halt or continue the release of products depending on the legitimacy of the grounds of violation into the United States.

In a statement released by its public relations firm, Waggener Edstrom, Grace Lei, general counsel of HTC said, "HTC is dismayed that Apple has resorted to competition in the courts rather than the market place."

Another legal battle launched by Apple against Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung comes on the heels of Samsung’s success in penetrating the American smart phone market. Samsung is one of the biggest makers of smart phones based on Google’s Android operating system.

This type of strategic move is a new wave in battling competition in recent years. The impact on the success and failure of product launches could be consequential.

In 2006 Qualcomm, an American wireless telecommunications research and development company filed a complaint with the ITC to prevent the import of Nokia products regarding patent and licensing issues.

Although the ITC ruled against the Qualcomm, despite Nokia being one of the world’s biggest makers of mobile phones by units shipped, after years of court disputes on an international level, there was a settlement and Nokia agreed to pay royalties.