HTC Phones Could Be Banned in Germany


HTC’s 3G smartphones could be banned from Germany just before Christmas, over a patent dispute

German patent company IPcom has announced it plans to ban the sale of HTC’s 3G smartphones in Germany, by enforcing a ruling it has won against the Taiwanese manufacturer and is now set to execute the judgement.

The news comes after HTC suffered setbacks in its patent war against Apple, and underlines Germany’s role as the European country most likely to ban sales of a device held to infringe patents.

Insult to Injury

“IPcom now intends to execute this injunction in the shortest possible time,” read an IPcom statement, ” We will use the right awarded by the courts, likely resulting in HTC devices disappearing from shops during the crucial Christmas season.”

IPcom sued HTC after it acquired Bosch’s mobile patent portfolio which comprises around 160 worldwide patents. These include some of the most important in the industry such as a patent with standardises a mobile’s first connection to a network.

In June, the company won a high court battle with Nokia over a 3G patent, although Nokia contended that the patent in question isn’t used by any of its current products.

The news compounds HTC’s recent ill-fortune. Earlier this week, Apple was cleared by the US International Trade Commission of violating HTC’s patents, the latest development in the ongoing legal battle between the two manufacturers.

Apple and HTC have made a series of claims and counterclaims, which began when Apple alleged that the Google Nexus One infringed on Apple’s patents. This increasingly bitter dispute reached new heights when HTC acquired patents from Google to strengthen its claims.

The possible ban of HTC phones in Germany would not be the first time the country has prohibited the sale of a device. Earlier this year, a German court permanently banned the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the country following legal action from Apple, who believed it to be an imitation of its own tablet the iPad.

However Samsung’s response may provide a blueprint for HTC to follow, as the Korean manufacturer recently unveiled a slightly modified version of the device, the Galaxy Tab 10.1N, in an effort to circumvent the ban.

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