HTC seeking to minimize impact of patent dispute

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Sep 25, 2013 - Page 13

HTC Corp (宏達電) yesterday said after losing the first round of a US patent dispute with Finnish handset vendor Nokia Oyj that it is working on alternative plans to minimize the case’s potential impact on its business.

In a notice published on Monday, Judge Thomas Pender of the US International Trade Commission (ITC) said HTC had infringed two of the three wireless patents-in-suit claimed by Nokia.

Nokia, which filed the complaint in May last year, had asked the US trade agency to impose a sales ban on certain HTC Android-based smartphones and tablets.

A final ruling is scheduled for Jan. 23 next year after the judge’s findings are reviewed by the six-member panel.

“We are pleased to have a partial victory from the Administrative Law Judge’s Initial Determination today, and we look forward to a final determination by the commission in favor of HTC on this matter,” HTC said in a statement.

“In the meantime, HTC will keep its alternative plans ready to ensure business will not be disrupted,” the Taoyuan-based manufacturer said.

Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant said the Finnish company was pleased with the rulings, but that it will reserve further comment until it studies the judgment in detail, Bloomberg News reported.

According to Nokia’s complaint filed with the ITC, the HTC products that allegedly violated the patents include the Amaze 4G, Inspire 4G, Radar 4G, Rezound, Sensation 4G, One S, Rhyme and Vivid smartphones, as well as the Flyer and Jetstream tablet computers.

However, the two infringed patents are not seen as being essential to meeting specific technical standards, which means it should be easier for HTC to work around them.

One patent describes a “method for attenuating spurious signals and receiver,” and the other describes a “method and arrangement for transmitting and receiving RF signals through various radio interfaces of communication systems.”

The initial determination came weeks after Nokia announced on Sept. 3 that it had agreed to sell its devices and services business, and license its patents to Microsoft for 5.44 billion euros (US$7.2 billion).

The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year.

Analysts said the deal is likely to alienate other phone makers that currently sell Windows Phone 8-based devices, such as HTC and Samsung Electronics Co.

HTC shares had gained 0.36 percent to NT$139.5 in Taipei as of 1pm yesterday. The stock has lost more than 50 percent of its value this year because of declining sales.