HTC to contest ruling on Nokia patent

SORE WINNER::After a German court ruled that HTC had violated a Nokia patent, the Finnish firm urged its rival to make competing fairly its New Year’s resolution

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Jan 01, 2014 - Page 13

HTC Corp (宏達電) said yesterday that it will appeal a ruling handed down by a German court finding that the struggling Taiwanese smartphone maker’s products infringed on one of rival Nokia Oyj’s patents.

Judge Matthias Zigann of the German Regional Court in Munich on Monday ruled that all HTC devices using Bluetooth or near-field communication connections — including the flagship One series — infringed on patent EP1148681 registered in Germany by Nokia, a blog post by technology patent expert Florian Mueller read.

The patent is for a technology involving a “method for transferring resource information” that covers the transfer of network resource information between mobile devices and was not “standard” nor “essential,” Mueller said.

The court also ordered Nokia to put up a bond of 400 million euros (US$550 million) before any injunction against infringing HTC products was enforced, which the Taiwanese company said was a “rare move.”

HTC said it will immediately appeal the ruling because it “firmly believes that the patent is invalid.”

It also vowed to proceed with an invalidity motion already being processed by the German Federal Patents Court.

“Even though we believe that the court should have sided with HTC on the issue of infringement from the beginning, notwithstanding the appeal that we will file, we are also now looking into modifications for our handsets to avoid infringement claims of the patent in question,” the Taoyuan-based company said in an e-mailed statement.

“The court’s decision, if it is enforced by the payment of the 400 million euro bond, will apply to HTC, not to our customers and we will make an urgent filing with the [German] Court of Appeals to seek a stay of enforcement,” the statement said.

Nokia said it was pleased with the judgement, which enables the Finnish company to enforce an injunction against the import and sale of all offending HTC products in Germany, as well as to obtain damages for past infringement.

“HTC’s first New Year’s resolution for 2014 should be to stop this free-riding and compete fairly in the market,” Nokia said in a statement.

The ruling marked HTC’s second setback in the German court, which ruled on Dec. 20 that eight of its nine mobile phones runnign Google Inc’s Android were found to have infringed Nokia’s EP1246071 patent relating to USB technology.

Nokia began its legal actions against HTC in 2012, with the aim of stopping what it says is the Taiwanese company’s unauthorized use of its proprietary innovations and has asserted more than 50 patents against HTC.

Over the past year, HTC has been found to have infringed seven Nokia patents by the regional courts of Mannheim and Munich in Germany, the UK High Court of Justice of England and Wales in Britain and the US International Trade Commission.

HTC shares closed 0.35 percent lower at NT$141.0 yesterday in Taipei trading, falling 53.08 percent for the whole of last year, according to Taiwan Stock Exchange data.