HTC sues Apple in latest round of patent dispute

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) ? Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp. is accusing Apple Inc. of violating three patents covering smartphones and other technologies, the latest round in an ongoing dispute between the two companies.

HTC filed the latest lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Del., where Apple Inc. had sued HTC a year ago. Both companies also have brought complaints before the U.S. International Trade Commission, which has the power to block imports of devices and parts found to infringe on a company’s intellectual property.

In the latest case, HTC sought unspecified damages and a ban that would prevent Apple from using the technologies in question. HTC said affected products include the iPhone, the iPad tablet computer, Mac notebook and desktop computers and iPod music players. HTC’s patents cover such things as integrating a device’s computing and communications functions ? something basic to all smartphones.

Phone makers have been increasingly suing one another as competition intensifies in the marketplace.

It is a key reason behind Google Inc.’s plans to pay $12.5 billion to buy Motorola Mobility. Google, which makes the Android software powering phones made by HTC and others, wants patents owned by Motorola to defend itself against patent lawsuits from rivals.

These disputes often result in settlements, in which companies license patents to each other. Rarely do such disputes end with the blocking of sales to consumers.

Apple did not immediately respond to an e-mail message for comment on Tuesday.