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Over at Android Central, we hear that Apple is suing HTC for infringing on 20 iPhone patents. If you thought you heard fightin' words from Apple with regard to Palm, you ain't heard nothing yet:

“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,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”

Apple has previously said "We are ready to suit up and go against anyone," and we figured that "anyone" had a healthy chance to be Palm. Instead, however, Apple has been locked in a patent war with Nokia and have apparently decided to open up a front with HTC.  Both Nokia and HTC surely have formidable patent portfolios, so it's no longer safe to assume Palm's own extensive portfolio is a guarantee that they won't see a brief from Apple someday.

The story's developing as we hunt down the filing and see what exactly Apple is crying foul over. Meanwhile we're imagining Palm execs whistling, walking, hands-in-pockets, looking at the birds, and doing their best to not appear conspicuous ...and maybe checking to see that they lawyers are on speed dial.

Update: Gizmodo has a list of the patents and they're pretty broad - many of them could definitely be said to apply to webOS. Luckily(?) patent wars like this take time, so it's going to take quite awhile to see how this all shakes out.