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Apple: HTC Phones Caused 'Irreparable Injury'

A lawsuit seeks to bar importation of iPhone competitors into the United States.

Google Nexus One Smartphone
(click for image gallery)

While Apple's marketing machine generally downplays the threat to the iPhone posed by Google's new Nexus One mobile device, the company's lawyers see it differently.

The Nexus One, as well as other touch-screen phones manufactured by HTC for Google and other third parties, has caused "irreparable injury" to Apple's mobile franchise, according to court documents.

Apple claims HTC infringed on 20 patents governing a range of technologies. It filed legal actions against the Taiwanese company Tuesday with the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court for Delaware.

"Apple has suffered irreparable injury for which there is no adequate remedy at law and will continue to suffer such irreparable injury unless the defendants' infringement" is enjoined by the court, Apple said in a complaint filed in the Delaware court.

Apple is asking the court to order HTC to pay unspecified damages and has requested that the International Trade Commission bar HTC from continuing to import the Nexus One and other phones into the United States.

"We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We've decided to do something about it," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs, in a statement earlier this week. "We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own technology, not steal ours," said Jobs.

HTC manufacturers mobile devices for a number of third parties, but its recent introduction of the Nexus One for Google may be what caught Apple's attention. Like the iPhone, the Nexus One features a touch-screen, a built-in GPS, and downloadable applications.

The patents in question cover touch-screens, gesture recognition, scrolling, power management, and other technologies.

Amid rising competition in the mobile market, Apple is becoming increasingly aggressive in protecting what it believes is proprietary technology. The company sued Nokia in December, claiming the Finnish handset maker also infringed on iPhone patents. That case remains open.

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