New patents from Google shore up HTC's defenses

HTC filed a new suit against Apple and amended two other complaints

Armed with new patents transferred from Google, HTC has filed a new lawsuit against Apple and amended two previous legal complaints.

HTC filed the new lawsuit against Apple Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. HTC accuses Apple of infringing four patents in a range of products and services including Macintosh computers, iPhones, iPods, iPads, iTunes, MobileMe, and iCloud.

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The four patents were originally assigned to Motorola but were all transferred to Google either late last year or early this year. Then, last week, all four patents were transferred to HTC.

HTC did not respond to questions about whether it bought the patents from Google or if Google gave it the patents.

In addition, HTC on Wednesday amended its complaint against Apple with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to assert five former Google patents. Those patents originated with Palm and Openwave, were transferred to Google and last week were transferred to HTC.

HTC also amended another previous suit, filed in Delaware, to add the new patents to that complaint.

HTC's new complaints are the latest in an ongoing battle with Apple, which has attacked several Android licensees in court. The disputes are an indication of just how competitive the mobile phone market has grown. Apple and Android have the largest market shares in the mobile market in the U.S.

In July, the ITC issued an initial determination that HTC infringed two Apple patents. The ITC has also agreed to investigate a separate complaint against HTC filed by Apple and is investigating an HTC complaint against Apple.

HTC has had a relatively weak patent portfolio compared to its competitors. Having access to the new patents from Google could help it shore up its defenses in its disputes with Apple.

In addition to the HTC lawsuit, Apple has filed suits against Samsung and Motorola. It has instigated the banning of Samsung tablets in Australia and Europe.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's email address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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