Apple is Suing HTC for Software Patent Violations

Recently when I wrote a small rant about software patents, I guess I should have also given a thumbs up to HTC, the company that manufactured the Nexus One and many other Android handsets.

On the other hand, it seems that Apple is not too pleased with HTC at all.

Apple has essentially patented a device driver (i.e. software). Read the first 30 bytes from patent #7479949, and you will quickly realize that it is moot. Here are those 30 bytes for your convenience:

"A computer implemented method" ...

Although many people think that Apple has a hardware patent on multi-touch / capacitive touch screens, they do not, just as I suspected (at least according to patent #7479949). I also suspect that a 3rd party company was responsible for designing and fabricating "Apple's" multi-touch screens, although Apple was certainly not the first to demonstrate multi-touch.

Naturally, it is in the best interests of that 3rd party company (whoever they are) to sell more of their touch screens but that is something which Apple has wholly tried to prevent (via software patents).

For the (approximate) 6.4 billion people in the world who do not live in the US - fear not - you have a legal right to buy a multi-touch enabled phone from a company other than Apple.

For those who live in the US... unfortunately, you might have to edit a few lines of code to get multi-touch in a "legal" way. If Apple really feels like it, they might be able to bar HTC from enabling multi-touch support in Android for all devices sold in the US, although seeing as how it is a free OS, there is little preventing consumers from enabling it themselves. Apple will also undoubtedly try and gouge HTC for "lost revenue".

Good luck with that, Apple.

Hopefully, the USPTO will flag this case like many others and revoke Apple's software patents.

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