Apple Slaps HTC With Patent Lawsuit

Updated with HTC comment.

CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Apple ( AAPL) has slapped HTC with a lawsuit, accusing its smartphone rival of infringing on 20 iPhone patents.

The patents relate to the iPhone's user interface, underlying architecture and hardware, according to a statement released by Apple.
Apple

"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," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a statement. "We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."

The lawsuit was filed concurrently with the U.S. International Trade Commission and in U.S. District Court in Delaware.

"HTC only learned of Apple's actions this morning via media reports, and therefore we have not yet had the opportunity to investigate the filings," explained the smartphone maker in a statement emailed to TheStreet. "Until we have had this opportunity, we are unable to comment on the validity of the claims being made against HTC."

Apple, of course, is no stranger to patent disputes and recently locked horns with rival Nokia ( NOK). Responding to a lawsuit brought by the Finnish phone giant, Apple filed a countersuit claiming that Nokia is infringing 13 Apple patents.

Apple's iPhone business is booming at the moment, with analyst firm Canaccord Adams noting that sales are coming in ahead of its estimates.

The consumer technology giant, which also competes with Palm ( PALM) and Research In Motion ( RIMM ) in the smartphone market, has sold more than 40 million iPhones since it was launched in early 2007.

During Apple's recent first-quarter results, iPhone shipments climbed a massive 100% compared to the same period last year, helping grow the company's overall revenue by more than 30% to $15.68 billion.

Up to this point, consumers have largely driven Apple's iPhone growth, although Goldman Sachs recently said that the technology is making its presence felt in corporate America.

Apple shares rose 93 cents, or 0.44% to $209.92 shortly after market open on Tuesday, mirroring the broader advance in tech stocks that saw the Nasdaq rise 0.34%.

-- Reported by James Rogers in New York

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