Last week Apple filed paperwork attempting to block the sale of several Samsung devices in the U.S. A little over a week later we’re back to the trenches, with Apple now attempting to block the sale of several HTC devices including the HTC Droid Incredible, Droid Incredible 2, Wildfire, T-Mobile myTouch 3G, T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide, T-Mobile G1, T-Mobile G2, Evo 4G, Aria, Desire, Hero, Merge, Inspire 4G, Evo 4G, Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 4G.
Apple filed the paperwork with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington on July 8th. The commission has 30 days to decide whether an investigation is necessary. Should one be granted, and the courts side with Apple – those devices would then be banned for sale in the U.S.
In a statement, Grace Lei, HTC’s general counsel said “HTC is dismayed that Apple has resorted to competition in the courts rather than the marketplace, HTC continues to vehemently deny all of Apple’s past and present claims against it and will continue to protect and defend its own intellectual property as it has already done this year.”
So, on a basic level I get why Apple is suing Samsung and HTC (and probably a slew of other people eventually). Take any one of the phones and tablets Apple is up in arms about, place them beside an iPhone, walk about 10 feet away and you’re not going to able to tell the difference. I do nothing but write about this stuff all day long, and I couldn’t tell a lot of them apart from across the room – and myTouch? Sounds a heck of a lot like iTouch and is catering to the same customer base as the music player. They are, hardware wise, very similar looking devices.
So, does that give Apple the right to sue everyone?
Yes, and no. I’m no lawyer (by any stretch of the imagination), but Apple does have the legal right to some of that technology/design etc. and Samsung, HTC, and every other touchscreen smartphone maker is capitalizing on that. Apple lover or hater I think we can all agree that the iPhone dramatically changed the smartphone market. Would those changes have happened if there was no iPhone? Probably in some form, but also probably not in the same way. The same could be said for the iPad. Had the first iPad not been so incredibly popular, would be be seeing so many other tablets hit the market?
I think my main issue with the whole lawsuit bonanza is that it’s happening now. Had Apple been suing smartphone makers for every phone throughout the years that resembled an iPhone I would wholeheartedly think they should win. Now that its suing people years later? Having a little bit of trouble supporting it.
Android has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past few years. Maybe Apple felt like it had to prove the offending handsets were stealing away some of its business before it could effectively sue them for it? On the other hand, maybe its trying slow down its competition now that its competition is starting to take away some of its business?
All Android/Apple fanboydom aside, what do you think? Does Apple have the right to sue HTC and Samsung for allegedly copying the iPhone and iPad? Would you feel differently if Apple had been suing everyone from the first non-iPhone touchscreen smartphone that was released?