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HTC gadgets held up at German airport over 3G patent dispute

During a 3G patent infringement trial between HTC and IPCom in a Mannheim, Germany court, counsel for HTC reported that some of the Taiwanese firm's shipments into Germany were seized by customs at the Frankfurt-Hahn airport last week.

The move came after German patent regulation and monetisation entity IPCom applied for HTC's 3G-enabled smartphones to be held at the border on the grounds that they violate its patents.

In addition to outlining this latest seizure, HTC reminded the court of another attempt made earlier by the Munich-based IPComto have its handsets seized by the police during last year's CeBIT trade show as prime instances of IPCom's efforts to bully HTC into accepting its patent-licensing terms.

IPCom launched lawsuits against HTC and Nokia five years ago, after having purchased a portfolio of wireless patents in 2007 from Robert Bosch GmbH, a former manufacturer of wireless handsets. Most of the patents that IPCom acquired from the deal were declared essential to cellular telecommunications standards, especially 3G (UMTS) technology.

At this point, it is unclear whether the seized goods have been released. HTC has said that there is no shortage of its devices in the German market for now.