HTC faces ban on 3G smartphone sales in Germany

HTC faces a ban on sales of all its 3G smartphones in Germany by Christmas, after withdrawing an appeal against a court judgment in favour of patent troll IPCom.

In a press release, IPCom today revealed that it had written to the Taiwanese company, demanding that it cease the sale and distribution of all 3G devices in Germany, in order to comply with a 2009 judgment made by a court in Mannheim, which found that HTC was infringing a patent held by IPCom, a German outfit that appears to specialise in nothing other than patent litigation.

After the withdrawal of the appeal ahead of a scheduled hearing on Friday, the earlier judgment against HTC becomes directly enforceable without IPCom having to take any further legal action.

If HTC fails to comply with the demand, IPCom states that it "will initiate a so-called 'Zwangsgeldverfahren' under German law, which will result in fines being levied until it complies."

"HTC's claim that it is 'business as usual' in Germany is utterly misleading," said Bernhard Frohwitter, the managing director of IPCom, in the statement. "Fact is: the patent in question [...] is valid, and the Mannheim ruling of February 2009 covers all HTC 3G devices, since the patent covers a mandatory 3G standard, valid for all devices and networks."

The patent in question, Patent #100, was purchased by IPCom from Bosch in 2007 - and the company has been involved in patent litigation ever since in order to wring a profit from its investment.

The basis of IPCom's legal claims stems from the company's assertion that it is impossible for a manufacturer to implement 3G compatibility in a handset without using technology covered by the patent, which according to IPCom describes "an algorithm that allows mobile networks to assign priorities to users on the basis of a pre-defined hierarchy, providing for the smooth functioning of the system in emergencies, and potentially saving lives."

IPCom asserted a similar claim against Finnish mobile giant Nokia, as we reported in July.