HTC doesn’t deny it used a battery-related patent without a license
According to patent law expert Florian Mueller, the struggling Taiwanese company is likely to enter a settlement and start paying royalties, but its troubles are far from over. The same lawsuit has been filed in the US (with both the Federal Court and ITC) and the UK, along with around 30 more infringement cases that implicate HTC.
Nokia goes to war
Nokia filed a patent injunction against HTC in Germany in March last year, alleging that its intellectual property has been used by the Taiwanese rival without a license. The case was part of a huge offensive launched by Nokia against HTC, ViewSonic and RIM. The Finnish manufacturer claimed that 45 of its patents were used unlawfully, and sued competitors in the US and Europe. RIM (now Blackberry) has already settled some of the claims, including the very same EP0673175 patent.
Essentially, the patent EP0673175 helps conserve mobile device battery by avoiding transmission of unnecessary data, especially in areas with strong network coverage.
According to Mueller, HTC didn’t try to deny infringement, or “dispute infringement on the basis of lacking sufficient information”. It also failed to use the obvious opportunity to delay the case. This could signal that HTC knew it was on the wrong side of the law when it implemented Nokia’s patents, but of course, the company couldn’t admit this in court.
One thing the Taiwanese mobile device manufacturer did do is attempt to challenge the patent in the German Federal Patent Court, but Mueller says that it is unlikely to have any impact on the case.
It is likely that HTC will be forced to settle the case and start paying royalties, just like RIM did. However, that doesn’t mean the company is out of trouble just yet.
“In the UK, HTC brought a declaratory judgment request against numerous Nokia patents, to which Nokia responded with offensive counterclaims, meaning that the UK part of the dispute is now an infringement case just like the one in Germany and could result in remedies (injunction, damages etc.) relating to HTC’s UK business,” explained Mueller.
Meanwhile, Nokia has lost the lead in terms of mobile Internet usage, as its share of all mobile traffic dropped to just 22.15 percent. According to StatCounter, the top position is now held by Apple, with a 25.86 percent share of mobile traffic.
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