Last week Apple filed a lawsuit against HTC for patent infringement. Steve Jobs had this to say in Apple’s press release:
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. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.
It’s a little odd that Apple decided to sue HTC instead of Google or Palm. I didn’t expect Apple to sue anyone but if you were to ask me two weeks ago who they would sue first, HTC certainly wouldn’t be on the top of my list. But, it’s clear from the above statement that Apple (specifically Steve Jobs) is not at all happy with HTC.
John Gruber wrote a fantastic piece regarding the lawsuit. I especially love this part:
I can think of only a few optimistic angles for this suit. One is that perhaps it’s a by-product of the suit Apple is engaged in against (and initiated by) Nokia. Apple’s counter-suit against Nokia involves some of the same patents at play here, and perhaps Apple’s lawyers have concluded that they need to enforce them against someone like HTC in order to use them in their counter-suit against Nokia. Or, perhaps one or more of the truly technical patents Apple has cited against HTC are genuine instances of intellectual property theft, the specific nature of which is unclear from the opaque language of the patent filings, and the rest of the cited patent violations were tacked on as part of a legal strategy along the lines of “If you’re going to punch them, punch them as hard as you can”. I.e. that they’ve filed suit as widely as they can, but have specific narrow violations in mind.
I’ve always seen Apple as the kind of company that would prefer to beat their competition in the market rather than in the courts. I hope that this is just a byproduct of Apple’s litigation with Nokia instead of Apple attempting to completely remove phones like the Nexus One from the market.
I admit that myself and many others often hold Apple up to a higher standard and therefore expect them to always do the right thing. But, I don’t think that this lawsuit is foolish simply because of my love of Apple products, instead I believe it’s foolish because it causes feelings of distrust and ill will from their best customers.