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Apple Sues Nexus One Phone Maker HTC

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Billed as an iPhone killer, the HTC-built Google Nexus One is an iPhone infringer, according to Apple

Apple is suing HTC, the maker of Google’s Nexus One smartphone, for allegedly infringing 20 patents for technology used in the iPhone.

Apple claims HTC has infringed on technology used in the iPhone’s user interface and  “underlying hardware and architecture”. The law suit joins a series of patent lawsuits which have seen Apple suing Nokia and being sued in return by the Finnish phone giant.

HTC has a long history of making smartphones for other companies and under its own brand. This year, among many other devices, it is making the Google Nexus One, which received good reviews and was branded an iPhone killer by some. It also makes its own-brand version of the same phone, launched at Mobile World Congress, the Desire.

Apple sues HTC as well as Nokia

Apple is seeking an injunction to prevent HTC selling the disputed phones in the US. A statement from Steve Jobs 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.”

The Apple suit has been filed with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) and a court in Delaware.

The ITC is already investigating a suit in which Apple claims Nokia infringed its user interface and software patents, as well as a suit in which Nokia alleges Apple infringes its technology for mobile communications. The legal tussle between those two companies began in October, with Nokia suing Apple.

Apple explained its suit against Nokia in strikingly similar words to its move against HTC: “Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours,” said Apple’s general counsel Bruce Sewell in a statement in December.

HTC has refused to comment on Apple’s suit yet, saying it has only just learned of it, and and is  “unable to comment on the validity of the claims being made against HTC,” according to a statement.

UK readers wanting to get their hands on the Google Nexus One will have to wait until April, when Google will launch the phone here – although eWEEK Europe has one Nexus One phone to give away in a prize draw for newsletter subscribers.