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Apple sued HTC, aTaiwanese manufacturer of mobile phones, on Tuesday, in a lawsuitclaiming 20 different patent infringements, largely relating to theuser interface of the iPhone, which ismanufactured by Apple.

According to the lawsuit, filed with both the United StatesDistrict Court in Delaware and the United States International Trade Commission, HTC violatedApple patents pertaining to both multi-touch gestures, which allowusers to interact with a device’s touchscreen using multiplefingers, as well as patents involving more general touch features.Devices mentioned in the suit are all phones manufactured by HTCthat use Google‘s Android software.The lawsuit says that HTC, in selling the phones, knowingly inducedthose using the mentioned products to violate patents owned byApple, some of which were filed in the mid-1990s.

Although the lawsuit named only HTC as a defendant, many viewedthe action as an indirect challenge to Google, as the lawsuit onlycovered HTC devices running Google’s Android software. Theoperating system has seen increasing popularity in the last year,and has increasingly included multi-touch input of the typementioned in the lawsuit.

One analyst, from Kaufman Brothers, said, “I think this is kindof an indirect lawsuit against Google.” Others said that Apple wassuing HTC instead of Google because the phone manufacturer was aneasier target than Google. Another analyst from MKM Partners saidthat “HTC is an optimal target for Apple-it’s a relatively smallvendor with a weak brand.”

In the documents, Apple said that their goal was to permanentlyblock HTC from importing and selling devices that had the offendingqualities, as well a significant cash payment in damages.

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