Skip to main content

Nokia & HTC Win Patent Victory Over IPCom

The European Patent Office has decided to revoke an IPCom patent, which the firm was trying to use to stop the sales of Nokia and HTC phones in Germany.

This legal dispute has been on-going for some time now, with IPCom first dragging HTC into the courts in 2009. Last November, IPCom filed a further suit against HTC in Germany, claiming that the company's devices trod all over a user priority assignment protocol which was patented. The patent stems from technology developed for in-car systems by Bosch, sold on to IPCom in 2007.

IPCom did obtain a positive result from its suit last year, and HTC moved to appeal, then bizarrely halted proceedings. IPCom then embarked on proceedings to have HTC devices withdrawn by retailers in Germany, and scored a further legal victory against Nokia's phones last week, with a German court ruling the Finnish mobile giant had infringed its intellectual property.

Those legal victories, however, appear to have had the rug pulled from beneath them with the European Patent Office's judgement. Nokia, unsurprisingly, welcomed the decision.

Paul Melin, vice president, Intellectual Property at Nokia, commented: "We are pleased that the European Patent Office has confirmed that this IPCom patent is invalid. So far, of 62 IPCom patents that have come to judgment, none has been found valid as granted. IPCom needs to recognize its position and end its unrealistic demands for what remains of this significantly diminished portfolio."

An HTC spokeswoman was similarly pleased to say: "This ruling undermines IPCom's licence infringement claim against us. We trust IPCom will now reconsider its opportunistic dispute with HTC and withdraw its legal action against us."

IPCom isn't about to take this lying down, and is set to appeal the EPO's decision. A spokesman for the firm said: "The patent will remain in effect until the EPO has made a final decision on this appeal."

He insisted: "As patent '100A' currently remains in effect, today's ruling has no impact on the already-initiated cease and desist orders against HTC."

Don't expect this one to be resolved anytime soon, as an appeal could stretch out over years rather than months.

Source: BBC News

Darren Allan
Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.