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HTC slaps back at Apple patent slap

'I'll see your tit and raise you a tat'

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HTC has fought back against Apple's patent suit with - you guessed it - a patent suit.

"We are taking this action against Apple to protect our intellectual property, our industry partners, and most importantly our customers that use HTC phones," Jason Mackenzie, the company's VP for North America, said on Wednesday in a prepared statement.

Mackenzie's words were less feisty than those of Steve Jobs, who when Apple sued HTC issued a statement that said, in part: "We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."

If you're keeping score, Apple is suing HTC for infringement of 20 patents relating to the iPhone's UI, architecture, and hardware. HTC is now suing Apple for infringement of five of its patents, but it didn't say exactly which ones or what they cover.

HTC's action wasn't unexpected. After Apple filed suit against it this March, HTC said that it would "fully defend" itself and its interests. And as is becoming readily apparent, in matters of patent infringement, the best defense is a good offense.

Witness, for example, the Apple-Nokia patent spat. Nokia first sued Apple last October. Apple countersued Nokia in December. Later that month, Nokia ratcheted up its anti-Apple suit by adding more patents to its list and claiming that "virtually all" of Cupertino's products violated some Finoovian patent.

A US judge told both Apple and Nokia to chill in March, but Nokia was having none of it, adding another suit to its list of complaints just last week.

We wouldn't be surprised if the Apple-HTC spat takes somewhat the same course. ®

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