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Nokia Looking Down The Barrel Of A UK Sales Ban After Losing Patent Dispute

Finnish mobile maker Nokia is facing a ban on UK sales and imports after it lost a patent dispute with a German intellectual property holder.

A court ruling which said that the company was infringing patents held by IPCom in all of its 3G-enabled handsets was upheld today much to Nokia's surprise.

The company is now waiting on the High Court's decision as to what remedies to apply in the case, and is hoping that Nokia's infringement could lead to a ban on the sale of all UMTS-equipped Nokia handsets in the UK. Such a move would give the Finnish mobile giant no choice but to agree to royalties and licence fees for IPCom's patented technology.

However, a Nokia spokesperson has told thinq_ that IPCom is sorely mistaken in its understanding of the judge's ruling.

"IPCom’s press release reflects a severe misunderstanding of Justice Floyd’s decision," the spokesman said. "He ruled that Nokia devices, no longer on sale, which had older software versions (A1 & A2) infringed the amended patent but that newer versions B-G, incorporating our workarounds, did not infringe the amended patent. As our current products do not infringe the amended patent, there can be no injunction against them and we can continue selling those products.

"IPCom’s assertion that the patent covers 'a mandatory element of the UMTS standard' … 'used in all UMTS phones' is also inaccurate," the company added. "UK operators provided statements to the Court to confirm that the feature had never been implemented in UK networks. German operators have confirmed that the same is true for networks in Germany."

Nokia is planning to appeal the ruling.