Apple fired the first shot when they sued HTC over 20 patents, then HTC responded with a suit of their own which claimed Apple infringed on five of its patents. Some claimed the initial suit might have been a bluff, but Apple is back at the table and recently filed another suit which includes two additional patents.
The latest patents, granted to Apple in 2001 and 2008, appear to target a popular new feature of HTC’s Sense UI. A part of the patent describes a “system for real-time adaptation to changes in display configuration” which sounds similar to the Leap function found in the new Sense UI.
- 6,282,646: “System for real-time adaptation to changes in display configuration” by Hendry et. al. and assigned to Apple Computer, Inc. (Granted 8/28/2001)
- 7,380,116: “System for real-time adaptation to changes in display configuration” by Hendry et. al. and assigned to Apple Inc. (Granted 5/27/2008)
Leap allows the user to pinch their home screen and easily change their desktop configuration to display all seven desktops at once. I’m sure others could interpret the patent to cover a dozen different features, but I guess that proves how silly some of these software patents get.
Everyone in the mobile industry is suing each other, so I guess that we should expect this battle to continue for awhile. The International Trade Commission has decided to probe both companies over their infringement claims, but it doesn’t look like any kind of resolution will materialize soon.