It looks like Apple is taking the fight to HTC and (indirectly) Google.
In a lawsuit filed with the ITC and the Federal District Court of Delaware, Apple filed 20 patent infringement claims against HTC. The claims specifically name the Nexus One, Touch Pro, Touch Diamond, Touch Pro2, Tilt II, Pure, Imagio, Dream / G1, myTouch 3G, Hero, HD2, and Droid Eris. This is essentially HTC’s entire lineup, including Android and Windows Mobile devices.
While Apple’s patent challenges have some valid basis, it’s interesting to note that they chose to sue HTC, rather than other potential offenders.
Some of the patents Apple filed for are sufficiently vague that they could essentially cover any touchscreen phone, such as their patent on, “Touch Screen Device, Method, And Graphical User Interface For Determining Commands By Applying Heuristics.”
HTC has gone on the record as being completely shocked. Apparently, Apple hasn’t served them a subpoena yet, but they assert that, “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.”
This scrutiny towards HTC likely comes as a result of their status as the number one Android phone manufacturer. While the lawsuits allege that HTC’s Windows Mobile phones infringe some patents as well, because they include DSP chips, the bulk of the suit focuses on HTC’s Android phones. Indeed, it appears that the Android handsets were singled out in the lawsuit because they run Android.
While Apple won’t come out and say it directly, this is the first volley in Apple’s brewing war on Android. While it’s possible that Apple will show up in court tomorrow with another lawsuit blasting Palm and WebOS, it seems incredibly unlikely. This appears to be further proof that while Google is still friends with Apple, Apple’s not interested in friendship anymore. Will Google take the hint?