HTC sues Apple over everything

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HTC says nearly all Apple product lines infringe on patents it owns, and it wants compensation. On Tuesday, the Taiwan-based Android smartphone maker filed a lawsuit against Apple in the U.S., saying that Macs, iPads, iPhones, iPods, AirPort, Time Capsule and Apple TV infringe on three patents it owns. This type of lawsuit has lately become standard operating procedure in the mobile world, but now even products that are not mobile devices are getting swept up in the ongoing mobile patent wars.

HTC has asked the U.S. District Court in Delaware to ban the import and sale of all the products mentioned above and has asked for compensatory damages as well. Because it has accused Apple of willfully infringing on its patents, it wants three times the compensatory damages. Apple did not have a comment on the matter.

If you feel like you’ve read this story before, it’s because this is the second lawsuit-go-round between these two. Apple initially accused HTC of violating 20 of its patents in 2010, and HTC responded later that year with its own suit claiming that Apple infringed 5 HTC mobile patents. Apple won an initial victory in July, with the International Trade Commission finding HTC violating two Apple patents. Now it appears the Android phone maker is looking to broaden its legal strategy by expanding its patent-related claims outside even mobile devices.

But this isn’t new for the industry. Similar stories are playing out throughout the mobile ecosystem, sweeping up nearly every major player in the category. Using patents to play offense against your mobile competitors has become necessary to survive. So too has playing defense, which is how we arrived at Monday’s rather startling Google announcement that it intends to purchase Motorola Mobility, which appears to be all about the mobile device maker’s patent trove.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Johan Larsson

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