updated 11:50 am EDT, Thu August 26, 2010
HTC says Apple patents violate prior art, more
HTC has filed a rejection (PDF) of the patent claims in Apple's main lawsuit. The rebuttal claims that the four patents violate rules regarding prior art as well as those for non-obviousness, originality and usefulness. Much of Apple's lawsuit is also targeting technology that HTC contracts out to third parties rather than anything created in-house.
Defenses of the sort are common but indicate HTC is honoring its pledge to fight the Apple case in a substantive way. The patent claims include heuristics on a touchscreen, slide-to-unlock gestures and power management. Apple also recently sued HTC a second time to incorporate patents for interfaces that change depending on the display configuration.
Regardless of legitimacy, many have interpreted Apple's lawsuits as part of a proxy fight against Google. Embroiling HTC in patent suits may slow down the largest single manufacturer of Android phones by forcing it to either change its technology or incur the costs of a settlement.
Apple hasn't commented on HTC's response, but it has put forward a motion (PDF) calling for at least the pre-trial portions of both the HTC cases and the defense against Nokia to be consolidated into a single procedure in a Delaware court. The iPhone maker has argued that as many as 11 patents face overlapping discovery processes in the case and that keeping the early phases separate would waste effort. As HTC and Nokia have argued for consolidated cases at the International Trade Commission, it would only be fair to unify the lawsuits as well, Apple said.
Most of the pre-trial phases involve Markman hearings, or sessions that determine what's meant by terms in a given patent. Defendants accused of patent violations will often try to interpret patents in Markman hearings in a way that invalidates some of the original claims. [via Groklaw]