Nokia Could Win HTC Sales Ban In Germany


Court ruling on technology patents means that HTC’s German sales could be halted

All HTC phones could be banned in Germany, after a court ruled the firm had infringed Nokia patents. However, a similar ruling in the UK has had little or no effect on HTC’s sales here.

The court ruled that HTC infringed on a Nokia patent for peer-to-peer sharing over Bluetooth and NFC networks, and has issued an injunction against sale of HTC products in Germany – which HTC will appeal against. 

The two phone makers have been slugging it ou in the courts of seven countries, with HTC accused of not paying a licence fee for the technology. As the patent is not essential to any standards, it does not have to be licensed under FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms, so Nokia can essentially do what it wants with it – which includes banning the sale of all HTC products in which it is currently present.

HTCOnelogo-660x422-640x409New Year, New Battle?

Nokia has welcomed the result, saying: “Nokia is pleased that the Regional Court in Munich, Germany has today ruled that any HTC product using Bluetooth or NFC connections infringes Nokia’s patent EP 1 148 681, which covers the transfer of network resource information between mobile devices.

“This judgment enables Nokia to enforce an injunction against the import and sale of all infringing HTC products in Germany, as well as to obtain damages for past infringement.”

In October, a UK court granted Nokia an injunction on several of its devices, including the HTC One, HTC One Mini and HTC One Max smartphones, following a separate patent dispute. However, thanks to a successful appeal, all these devices still remain available to buy in the UK.

This is by no means the last we’ll hear of this dispute, as Nokia’s statement following the ruling goes on to recommend that “HTC’s first New Year’s resolution for 2014 should be to stop this free riding and compete fairly in the market.

HTC is yet to respond, but the company has said that it will appeal, possibly with the help of Google, which means the ruling may yet be overturned, alongside a separate challenge to the validity of the Nokia patent.

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