HTC And Nokia Score Victory As IPCom Patent Is Revoked

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A patent which threatened sales of HTC and Nokia phones in Germany has been revoked by the European Patent Office

The European Patent Office (EPO) has invalidated a patent which threatened to block the sale of HTC and Nokia handsets in Germany.

IPCom had previously scored successes against the Taiwanese and Finnish companies in Germany and the UK, asserting that they had infringed patents purchased from Bosch in 2007.

Phone ban bid blocked

In a press statement dated June 2011, IPCom explained that the 100A patent, which was originally developed for mobile car telephony systems, is standard-essential and that negotiations between Bosch and Nokia had taken place in the mid-2000s to license the patent on FRAND (fair, reasonable and no-discriminatory) terms, but had failed.

Following its acquisition of the portfolio, IPCom reached licensing agreements with several phone manufacturers, but HTC and Nokia held out, prompting a series of suits and challenges.

The pair’s success with the EPO on Wednesday comes after recent court losses in Germany.

“We are pleased that the European Patent Office has confirmed that this IPCom patent is invalid,” said Paul Melin, Nokia’s vice president of IP in a statement. “So far, of 62 IPCom patents that have come to judgment, none has been found valid as granted. IPCom needs to recognise its position and end its unrealistic demands for what remains of this significantly diminished portfolio.”

“This ruling undermines IPCom’s license infringement claim against us. We trust IPCom will now reconsider its opportunistic dispute with HTC and withdraw its legal action against us,” an HTC spokesperson said to Reuters.

IPCom has said it will appeal the ruling, but told the BBC it could take “years, rather than months” until a final decision is reached.

“The patent will remain in effect until the EPO has made a final decision on this appeal,” a spokesman said. “As patent ‘100A’ currently remains in effect, today’s ruling has no impact on the already-initiated cease and desist orders against HTC.”

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