Google back android technology against Apple threat

Apple is taking legal action agaianst phone manufacturer HTC, the company behind Google's Nexus One handset and other Andriod-based smartphones, for allegedly using patents and technology seen in the iPhone.

Apple claims the phone manufacturer has infringed 20 iPhone patents, using the companies "underlying hardware and architecture" for its own phone models.

Sales of HTC handsets that use the techonology could be blocked in the US if Apple's lawsuit is successful, though not in the UK.

Although Apple has not named Google in the suit, many of the named patents relate to operating system processes. Google's Nexus One handset is expected to launch in the UK in April.

HTC responded saying it has only just been made aware of the legal action and is investigating the claims.

In a statement, Apple boss Steve Jobs said: "We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."

Google has taken the unusual step of publically supporting HTC in the case.

"We are not a party to this lawsuit," said a Google spokesperson. "However, we stand behind our Android operating system and the partners who have helped us to develop it."

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