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HTC sues Apple, again

The handset maker files another lawsuit against Apple, this time alleging patent infringement in the sale of Mac computers, iPods, iPads, iPhones, and other devices.

HTC has filed another lawsuit against Apple alleging patent infringement, escalating their legal battle.

Reuters reported today that the Taiwanese handset manufacturer filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Delaware, claiming that Apple is violating two patents by selling its line of Mac computers, iPads, iPods, iPhones and other devices. HTC is seeking to halt the importation of Apple products into the U.S., and is seeking compensatory damages, as well as three times the normal damages for willful infringement.

HTC filed a similar complaint to the U.S. International Trade Commission. The agency has the power to impose an importation ban, although feuding companies tend to settle before that occurs.

"This is the third case before the ITC in which Apple is infringing our intellectual property. Apple needs to stop its infringement of our patented inventions in its products," said Grace Lei, HTC's general counsel.

An Apple representative wasn't available for comment on the complaints.

The patents covers WiFi capability that allows for the connection of multiple devices and processor technology used to combine a phone and personal digital assistant.

This is just the latest in a myriad of lawsuits filed between the two companies, seen as a proxy for the wider fight between Apple's iOS platform and Google's Android operating system. HTC was the first target of Apple, which has gone on to sue other Android partners including Samsung Electronics and Motorola Mobility and set off a number of lawsuits and complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission.

In late July, HTC filed a lawsuit against Apple in the U.K. The specifics of the suit were not made public.

The increasing frequency of the legal skirmishes pushed Google to make a surprise acquisition of Motorola, which has a war chest of 17,000 patents that can be used to provide legal cover for other Android vendors. Google has yet to take direct action against Apple, and likely won't until the deal closes, which is expected by year's end or early 2012.

Related links:
• Apple sues HTC over iPhone patents
• HTC takes Apple patent battle to U.K.
• Google's Motorola bid shrinks mobile patent supply

HTC sought its own protection when it acquired S3 Graphics for $300 million. The company's patents won an initial ruling from the International Trade Commission against Apple, giving HTC some leverage in potential cross-licensing negotiations down the line.

Apple and HTC's dispute has hopped from one court to another. The ITC said earlier this month that it would review a complaint filed by Apple against HTC. The ITC has the power to ban the importation of devices to the U.S., although that penalty has never been enforced because settlements are made before that happens. Apple also has several lawsuits filed in Delaware against HTC, alleging patent infringement through the sale of its smartphones.

HTC was among the early high-flyers when Android took off, as it was the first company to make an Android phone. It quickly gained prominence among the carriers for its ability to cater to their specific needs, building the first WiMax phone last year for Sprint Nextel and the first 4G LTE phone for Verizon Wireless earlier this year. The company's Sense user interface has also won critical praise for its intuitive nature.

Updated at 12:14 p.m. PT: with comment from HTC.