The recent ruling of a German court that HTC had infringed on Nokia’s power reduction patent effectively bans the sale of most of the company’s smartphones in that country. The Taiwanese company however has come up with a solution to sidestep this ruling as it will be changing the design of some of the affected models.
A company representative speaking at the Taiwan Stock Exchange said that “The functionality found to be infringed is redundant and no longer in use in Germany and we are investigating modifications for our handsets to remove this redundant technology. This ensures that there will be minimal disruption to our customers while we pursue an appeal.”
The company further added that the redesign will have minimal disruption to consumers while it appeals the ruling.
The patent infringement case concerns Nokia’s patent EP0673175 otherwise known as “reduction of power consumption in a mobile station”. This patent plays a big role in the backwards compatibility of new devices with networks running on older technology. It is however not an essential feature and can be excluded on devices.
Nokia commented on this ruling saying that “Nokia is pleased with this decision, which confirms the quality of Nokia’s patent portfolio. Nokia has also patented this power saving invention in the US, UK, France, Italy, Sweden, Austria, Japan and Hong Kong. In addition to this case in Germany, we have asserted the patent against HTC in the UK and in the US International Trade Commission, with a hearing in the US scheduled to start in two months. More than 30 further Nokia patents have been asserted against HTC in other actions brought by Nokia in Germany, the US and the UK. HTC must now respect our intellectual property and compete using its own innovations.”
HTC on the other hand downplayed this saying that it is of little significance since it only affected a couple of its devices namely the Wildfire S, Desire S and Rhyme which are not even imported anymore in Germany. The company said that “This decision cannot be described as a ‘win’ for Nokia because it only applies to handsets that are no longer imported into Germany, and newer HTC handsets do not use the accused technology. As Nokia clearly went to great lengths to assert its strongest patents first, we are confident that its non-essential patent portfolio poses little threat to HTC.”