HTC countersues Apple -

Maker of Android phones and a bunch of widely touted iPhone contenders HTC is hitting back at Apple with a patent lawsuit. Apple previously sued HTC for supposedly nicking 20 patents of to do with the iPhone UI and architecture.

HTC, disgruntled at Apple's attitude, is fighting fire with fire and claiming that Apple has infringed three of its patents on phone directories and two to do with power management. HTC has gone to the US International Trade Commission, or ITC, and suggested to it that it holds all imports and sales of the iPhone, reports DigiTimes.

HTC is doing well for itself and recently sent Apple into a PR panic after analysts at NPD said it was outselling the iPhone. However, an analyst at Needham & Co told Bloomberg that this latest in legal phone-waving is probably not anything Apple needs to worry about. "I can't imagine that HTC has any patents that Apple is violating," Charlie Wolf said to Bloomberg. "I think it's a ploy to slow the settlement process."

It seems that everyone in the mobile industry is sueing everyone else. Apple filed a claim to the USITC against Nokia over patent claims back in January. Nokia very recently had an anti-pop at Jobs' Mob too, claiming that the iPhone and iPad 3G infringe on five of the Finnish company's patents.

The smartphone market is turning into a lawsuit bloodbath. We think, however, that a lot of these claims are mainly posturing - with the Nokia and HTC claims being the equivalent to finally standing up to a big, fat, playground bully. Healthy competition is great for the consumer and drives markets but this just ain't cricket.