Apple has announced it is to drag HTC to the courts over its handsets, hitting the company with a lawsuit referring to over 20 iPhone patents it says have been infringed.

The patents refer to the phone's user interface, underlying architecture and hardware but don't specifically mention Google or Android.

Google has had close ties with HTC ever since the company launched its Android mobile OS first on the G1, and since then HTC has launched a Google-specific handset (the Nexus One) and a number of 'with Google' phones as well.

Decided to do something about it

In short, the tie-up with Google is a significant one that has started to threaten Apple's dominance in the handset and app market with the iPhone.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is quoted on the lawsuit as saying: "We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We've decided to do something about it.

"We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."

When it comes to the user interface, HTC's SenseUI overlay has been praised wholeheartedly for its widget-based, multiple home-screen approach to phone navigation.

Fingers-crossed that whatever the outcome – and it's unknown what exactly the patent infringements refer too – this technology stays just as it is. Saying that, recent leaks (which haven't been confirmed as being real) of a new SenseUI design do show startling similarities to the iPhone's User Interface.

Via Engadget