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HTC and Apple face off in UK court in latest Android fight

HTC is in court in Britain to fight Apple's claim to certain aspects of the smart phone experience, phone unlocking and multi-touch.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Expertise Films, TV, Movies, Television, Technology
Richard Trenholm
2 min read
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HTC is locking horns with Apple's legal team here in Blighty this week. Bloomberg reports HTC is challenging Apple's right to claim certain aspects of the phone and tablet experience as its own, including elements of phone unlocking and multi-touch.

HTC argues that four Apple patents are in fact common sense and are so obvious and universal they can't be patented. The patents in question involve zooming and scrolling in photos, multi-touch, unlocking screens and different alphabets in text messages.

We're looking forward to hearing what a British judge makes of the ins and outs of smart phone design. "A mobile telephone, y'say? Well I never -- isn't it marvellous what they come up with these days! Pardon?" 

Apple and HTC are going head-to-head in courts here in Britain, and in Germany and the Netherlands. Should HTC be successful in this case, it may influence the European legal battles in its favour.

The British trial is set to continue until 4 May. It's not the only legal battle for Apple, which is attacking several manufacturers of Android phones and tablets in the courts.

Apple founder Steve Jobs vowed "thermonuclear war" against Android before his untimely death last year, and the Californian company has pursued Android with a vengeance ever since. Apple has already gone to war over phone unlocking in a litigious scrap with Motorola, which also argues that slide-to-unlock is an obvious feature and shouldn't be patented.

Samsung is the main opponent in Apple's crusade, the two technology giants locked in a knock-down drag-out legal punch-up that spans Europe, the US, Australia and Japan.

This week a US court ordered Samsung and Apple's bosses-of-bosses to sit down face-to-face and try to resolve the patent disputes.

Should Apple be able to claim multi-touch and phone unlocking as its own? Will a UK judge apply the famous British common sense and fair play and tell Apple to sling its hook? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.