Apple sued by Via over chips in gadgets

Apple store, AP
Image caption Via claims Apple has "wilfully" infringed patents it owns in many of its products

Taiwanese chip designer Via is suing Apple claiming the US firm has infringed patents it owns.

Via said the disputed ideas were used in Apple TV, the iPod, iPad and iPhone and the software they run on.

The patents involve the ways chips in these products use, transfer and manipulate data.

Via has filed a complaint with both an American district court and the US International Trade Commission.

The company's boss Wen-Chi Chen said the firm was "determined to protect our interests and the interests of our stockholders" in a statement about the lawsuit.

The legal action is widely believed to be connected to an ongoing dispute between Apple and Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC. Mr Chen is married to HTC's chairwoman Cher Wang, who co-founded both businesses.

Earlier rounds in the legal fight between the two saw Apple rack up a win as the HTC was found to have infringed two Apple patents. HTC has said it plans to appeal against that ruling.

HTC has filed three separate lawsuits against Apple over patents used in mobiles and tablets.

Apple has yet to issue a statement about the Via lawsuit.

The latest action is one of many patent spats in which Apple is involved. The company has taken action itself against Samsung in the US, Europe, Australia and South Korea. These have led to a ban on the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany and bans on three smartphones in Holland.

In retaliation, Samsung has taken Apple to court in France and has counter-sued in the Netherlands.

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