By Paul Hayes

SEATTLE, US: In what has been a very tough week for Apple, the electronics giant is being sued for patent infringement while apparent photos of its new 4G iPhone have appeared on a Vietnamese website.

Taiwan-based smartphone manufacturer, HTC Corporation, yesterday announced it was taking legal action against Apple, filing a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission to halt the importation and sale of the iPhone, iPad and iPod in the United States.

HTC alleges that Apple products infringed a number of its existing patents.

“We are taking this action against Apple to protect our intellectual property, our industry partners, and most importantly our customers that use HTC phones.” said vice president of North America, HTC Corporation, Jason Mackenzie.

The lawsuit comes after Apple itself launched legal action against HTC in March, claiming it had infringed on 20 of its iPhone patents.

In addition to the outside legal action, the notoriously secretive Apple appears to have suffered another embarrassing lapse in security, with possible images of its fourth generation iPhone surfacing in Vietnam overnight.

The photos, and accompanying YouTube video, appear to show the new smartphone and its inner components.

The Vietnamese website could not be accessed as of this afternoon.

If they prove authentic, the photos will be a second iPhone embarrassment for Apple, after US website obtained images of the yet-to-be-released device in April this year.