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Palm CEO Ed Colligan isn't worried about a possible legal battle with Apple over the upcoming Palm Pre smartphone.

After telling investors that there will be no more PalmOS devices after the Centro retires - and that the Pre won't be limited to software downloaded from Palm's Software Store - Colligan turned to the subject of patents.

"We're very respectful about people's intellectual property," he said, according to PreCentral. "We believe we're huge innovators and have been for a lot of years and that this product has an enormous number of innovations in it."

After reminding investors that no legal proceedings have yet been initiated between Apple and Palm, he said: "If something does happen there, we do have the [patent] portfolio, we think, to defend ourselves and to be successful doing that. But nothing's happened to date, so we're really just focused on getting the product out the door."

Many observers have suggested that a legal battle might be brewing, an idea born when Apple's "day to day" chief Tim Cook pointedly said in response to an iPhone-interface question on a recent earnings call: "We like competition as long as they don't rip off our IP [intellectual property] - and if they do, we're going to go after anyone who does."

When Cook was asked whether he was referring to the Palm Pre, he demurred: "I don't want to talk about any specific company," he said.

Why not, Tim? Everyone else is. ®

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