Apple sues HTC over 20 patent infringements
CEO Steve Jobs says the company will no longer put up with what it believes is blatant plagiarism.
In a strong statement, Apple said it had been forced into the move because its rivals continue to steal its technology.
The suit focuses on what Apple describes as "patents relating to the iPhone's user interface, underlying architecture and hardware".
"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 Jobs in the statement.
"We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."
In the dark
What's also striking is that HTC was given no prior warning regarding Apple's action. According to a follow-up statement made by the firm, it found out about the lawsuit at the same time the rest of the world.
"HTC is a mobile technology innovator and patent holder that has been very focused over the past 13 years on creating many of the most innovative smartphones," the company said.
"HTC values patent rights and their enforcement but is also committed to defending its own technology innovations. HTC only learned of Apples actions this morning via media reports, and therefore we have not yet had the opportunity to investigate the filings. Until we have had this opportunity, we are unable to comment on the validity of the claims being made against HTC."
Apple isn't afraid of taking on its rivals on the legal playing field. The firm is currently involved in a tussle with Nokia, counter-suing the Finnish mobile giant for infringing on 13 of its patents after Nokia claimed "virtually all" of Apple's products infringe on its own patents.
Of course, large technology companies often sue each other for little seeming reason other than the fact they can.
Qualcomm and Nokia had an ongoing situation for years, before everything was eventually sorted out before the case went to court; although Nokia did agree to pay future royalties.