The Taiwanese company says it has always respected intellectual property. HTC plans to “fully defend itself” against the patent lawsuit filed by Apple earlier this month

HTC says will fight Apple lawsuit, stresses innovations

High Tech Computer Corp. on Thursday said it plans to “fully defend itself” against the patent infringement lawsuit filed by Apple early this month, adding it has always respected the intellectual property of others and will continue to do so.

The company also outlined its history of firsts in the smartphone business, from the first Windows-based PDA in 1998 and Windows phone in 2002 to the first smartphone based on Google’s Android mobile operating system in 2008. HTC, which opened in 1997, also noted that its first touchscreen smart phones, the XDA and T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition, both shipped in 2002. The iPhone debuted in 2007.

“From day one, HTC has focused on creating cutting-edge innovations that deliver unique value for people looking for a smartphone,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, in a statement. “(We) will continue to respect other innovators and their technologies as we have always done, but we will continue to embrace competition through our own innovation as a healthy way for consumers to get the best mobile experience possible,” he added.

Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The company filed a patent infringement lawsuit against HTC in the U.S., claiming the Taiwanese company is infringing 20 Apple patents related to the iPhone user interface, underlying architecture and hardware.

HTC did not mention any of its own patents in the statement.

Analysts have called the lawsuit against HTC a shot fired against the growing threat posed by Google’s Android mobile operating system, because HTC is the world’s largest maker of Android smart phones.

Google has said it will stand by HTC even though it is not party to the lawsuit. “We stand behind our Android operating system and the partners who have helped us to develop it,” the company said in a statement.

Lawsuits appear to be in vogue in the smart phone industry. There are currently a number of suits, including Nokia Corp. versus Apple Inc., Apple versus Nokia, Kodak versus Apple and Research In Motion Ltd., Motorola versus RIM, and the list goes on.

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