The Complaint: Apple's Patent Lawsuit Against HTC Is All About Android

Earlier today, Apple issued a press release stating that it has filed suit against cell phone manufacturer HTC for patent infringement. No mention of Android or Google was in the press release. But the actual legal complaints, which we’ve obtained and embedded below, make no bones about it. As expected, this lawsuit is about Android. HTC, of course, is one of the largest manufacturers of Android handsets.

The complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Delaware targets: “certain mobile communication devices including cellular phones and smart phones, including at least phones incorporating the Android Operating System (collectively, “the Accused Products”).” And the complaint filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission specifically calls out the various HTC Android phones (including the Nexus One, Magic/myTouch 3G, Dream/G1, Hero, and Droid Eris) as the main offending products. By going after the biggest Android manufacturer, Apple is putting all Android cell phone makers—and by extension Google— on notice. Is there any doubt now why Google CEO Eric Schmidt had to resign from Apple’s board last year? The battle lines are now drawn.

At least one of the patents (No. 7,479,949) lists Steve Jobs as an inventor, and describes a method to use a touchscreen as a graphical user interface “detecting one or more finger contacts with the touch screen display” (i.e. multi-touch). The complete list of patents the complaint says are being infringed include:

  • Patent No. 7,362,331: “Time-Based, Non-Constant Translation Of User Interface Objects Between States”
  • Patent No. 7,479,949: “Touch Screen Device, Method, And Graphical User Interface For Determining Commands By Applying Heuristics”
  • Patent No. 7,657,849: “Unlocking A Device By Performing Gestures On An Unlock Image”
  • Patent No. 7,469,381: “List Scrolling And Document Translation, Scaling, And Rotation On A Touch-Screen Display”
  • Patent No. 5,920,726: “System And Method For Managing Power Conditions Within A Digital Camera Device.”
  • Patent No. 7,633,076: “Automated Response To And Sensing Of User Activity In Portable Devices”
  • Patent No. 5,848,105: “GMSK Signal Processors For Improved Communications Capacity And Quality”
  • Patent No. 7,383,453: “Conserving Power By Reducing Voltage Supplied To An Instruction-Processing Portion Of A Processor”
  • Patent No. 5,455,599: “Object-Oriented Graphic System”
  • Patent No. 6,424,354: “Object-Oriented Event Notification System With Listener Registration Of Both Interests And Methods”

Another complaint was filed with the ITC and may include other patents, since there are only ten here and Apple claims 20 patents are being infringed altogether.