Apple Sues Nexus One Maker HTC for Patent Infringement

Apple Inc. (AAPL), whose iPhone is facing tougher competition from smartphones released by the likes of rival Google Inc. (GOOG), is suing Taiwan-based phone maker HTC.

HTC just happens to manufacture the Google Nexus One.

Apple said on Tuesday that HTC is infringing on 20 of its patents related 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,” Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”

There was no immediate word on HTC’s response – undoubtedly the company will deny the claims. The litigation could go to court and go through months or years of arguments, or Apple and HTC could settle. Either way, HTC’s sales shouldn’t be threatened in the near term.

Apple filed the lawsuit with the U.S International Trade Commission and in district court in Delaware.

There also was no word from Google on the Apple lawsuit.

Online bill comparison engine BillShrink recently compared the total cost of ownership across hot smartphones, and found that the Nexus One running on T-Mobile USA will cost a user less, in the end, than either the Motorola Droid or the iPhone 3GS 16GB. The Palm Pre still came in as offering the best cost profile, however, according to BillShrink’s analysis.

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