German Retailers Told To Stop Selling HTC Products

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IPCom has written to German retailers, telling them to stop selling HTC 3G products or face legal action

IPcom’s patent dispute with HTC showed no sign of resolving itself after it wrote to a number of German retailers threatening legal action if they continued to sell HTC’s 3G-enabled products.

IPcom says that it is justified in this course of action as HTC has been unwilling to cease the sale of its products in the country, despite withdrawing its appeal against the 2009 decision which ruled in favour of an injunction.

Patent Battle

IPCom confirmed to analyst Florian Mueller that it had sent the letters which threatened legal action unless the recipients signed a cease and desist agreement.

These retailers must decide whether or not they want to take the risk of facing such action, but many retailer agreements with vendors include risk clauses which state that HTC will bear the cost and risk of such legal issues, although many will prefer to avoid legal action.

HTC withdrew its appeal against IPCom last month, to which IPCom responded by announcing its inention to execute the judgement in Germany as soon as possible.

IPCom sued HTC after it required Bosch’s mobile portfolio which comprises around 160 worldwide patents, including some of the most important in the industry, such as a patent which standardises a mobile’s first connection to the network. The specific patent with IPCom refers to in its complaint is a UMTS-focused divisional patent which HTC allegedly infringes in its 3G products.

Legal Woes

The Taiwanese company is also engaged in a legal battle with Apple, which started when the iPhone manufacturer filed a claim that alleged the HTC produced Google Nexus One infringed on one of Apple’s patents. After a series of claims and counter-claims, Apple was cleared by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) of violating HTC’s patents, despite the former acquiring patents from Google to strengthen its claim.

HTC isn’t the first manufacturer to have its products banned in Germany. Earlier this year a German court permanently banned the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the country following legal action from Apple who believed it to be an imitator of its iPad tablet.


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