WASHINGTON, US - Apple filed suit on Tuesday against HTC, maker of the Nexus One smartphone from Google, accusing the Taiwan company of infringing on 20 iPhone patents.
"We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it," Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said in a brief statement.
"We've decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours," Jobs said.
Apple accused HTC of infringing on 20 Apple patents related to the "user interface, underlying architecture and hardware" of the iPhone, the popular touchscreen device introduced in 2007 by the company behind the iPod and the Macintosh computer.
Apple, which is based in Cupertino, California, said the lawsuit was filed in a US District Court in the state of Delaware and with the US International Trade Commission.
In the suit, Apple, which has sold more than 40 million iPhones worldwide, is asking for unspecified damages and an injunction to prevent HTC from making or selling products using the patents in dispute.
HTC, which stands for High Tech Computer Corp., is Taiwan's leading smartphone maker.
The company makes handsets for a number of leading US companies and is the manufacturer of the Nexus One unveiled by Apple rival Google in January.
Apple did not specifically name Google in the lawsuit but many of the HTC smartphones cited in its filing are powered by Google's open-source Android operating system.
Among the smartphones accused of violating Apple patents was the T-Mobile G1 made by HTC, which was launched in October 2008 and was the first phone to use the Android platform.
Among the HTC-made devices mentioned in the suit are the Nexus One, the T-Mobile G1, also known as the HTC Dream, the HTC Touch Diamond, the HTC Touch Pro, the HTC Tilt, the HTC Pure and the HTC myTouch.
Patent lawsuits are a fairly regular occurrence among technology giants and Apple is currently being sued by Nokia for patent infringement. Apple has fired back a countersuit against the Finnish mobile phone giant.
Canada's Research in Motion, maker of the Blackberry, has also had its share of patent woes and was accused of patent infringement by US mobile phone maker Motorola in suit filed in January.
Eastman Kodak Co. filed lawsuits against Apple and RIM that same month alleging they infringed Kodak digital imaging technology.
Apple shares lost 0.07 percent on Tuesday to close at S$ 293.62 (208.85 US dollars).