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Patent Wars: HTC Floors Nokia in Germany

htc vs nokiaTaiwan’s leading smartphone manufacturer HTC on Saturday last week won a patent battle in Germany against Finland’s Nokia in a case that was second most publicized patent case after the Samsung vs Apple case last year.

HTC, one of the leading Android smartphone manufacturers and Nokia, a renowned maker of mobile phones globally and currently one of the few companies to embrace Windows Phone OS and shun Android, had sued HTC for patent infringement in the District Court of Mannheim – Southwest Germany.  The two cases filed by the Finnish company were dismissed by the court with a statement that Nokia ‘had exaggerated the scope of the patents with the intent to extract unwarranted licensing royalties from Android smartphone makers’.

In a statement by HTC in Taipei, Nokia had filed the two separate cases against HTC, BlackBerry and Viewsonic in May last year citing 45 patent infringements by the three companies.  Nokia specifically accused HTC of the infringement of patent EP0812120 that is summarized as ‘a method for using services offered by a telecommunication network, a telecommunication system, and a terminal for it.’  The company further accused HTC of distributing the Google Play application and its client application which violated their patents.

HTC was not the only Android manufacturer that Nokia was targeting, it appears that Google, whose Android operating system runs in many smartphones by different manufacturers, would have been next on the line had Nokia trounced HTC in the suit. Nokia had stressed that their patent specifically referred that the patent violation application was in the mobile app store including Google Play, but the judges seemingly didn’t fall for it.  Google was very keen on the development of the case since their operating system was on the front line.

The two patents in question according to Nokia infringed the company’s ‘intelligent network’ services including alternative billing and a technology that is used in dimming and brightening a phone’s screen.  Nokia, it appears, is not going down that easy as the company spokesman said that the company has 34 patent cases in court against HTC – in Germany and in the US.  Blackberry, one of the companies co-sued with HTC, agreed to pay up royalties over different patents though it was not disclosed which patents exactly or the specifics of the agreements.

Although Nokia lost the two suits, it is hard to feel sorry for the company as its exaggeration of the suits brings to mind the Apple vs Samsung case last year dubbed ‘The battle over the rectangle shape’ in which Apple won.


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