HTC Corporation, the maker of HTC One smartphones might be on the verge of losing the U.K. market as a British judge recently decided that the company infringed on Nokia’s patent. In a court decision issued by Judge Richard Arnold of the England and Wales High Court allowed Nokia to stop HTC from continuing to infringe a mobile phone microchips patent held by Nokia effective Dec. 6. The judge had ruled that the phones of HTC, currently sold and distributed in the U.K. contained the concerned microchips patent.
While Judge Arnold issued the ban ruling, he nonetheless delayed the injunction to apply it to HTC One smartphone until an appeal by HTC Corporation could be decided with finality by the court. The judge said that blocking the U.K. sales of HTC One would cause “considerable damage” to the company especially in view of the projected increase in consumer purchases this Christmas season.
The injunction however is immediately applicable to the other HTC products like the HTC One Mini, a smaller version of the phone and HTC One Max, a larger version of the device. With regard to these two variants and justifying the ban decision, the judge said that HTC designed and launched the said products despite previous knowledge of a Nokia’s claim is already pending in the patents office.
The HTC One was released in the U.K. last March of this year while the HTC One Mini and HTC One Max were released in June of 2013. The breathing space given to HTC One is good news for the company as this smartphone variant makes up of around 70 percent of its total sales in the U.K.
HTC Corporation said that while waiting for the results of the appeal they have filed, the Taiwanese phone manufacturer has agreed not to further import the questioned products into the U.K. except for the HTC One. However, if HTC does not succeed in its appeal, all HTC infringing products will be banned in the U.K.
Analysts have determined that the ban on HTC One Mini and HTC One Max in the U.K. may have minimal impact on the company’s sales. This is because the said products are not the lead products being promoted and secondly, the Europe market for this type of product is only 20 percent in HTC’s overall revenue basket, they added.
In a company announcement, HTC said that they are now working closely with their suppliers to look for other solutions that will resolve the issue of infringement and that the public should not be worried because their HTC One smartphones are still available in the U.K. market.
Aside from the demand to stop the sales and distribution of the questioned smartphones, Nokia is also asking for financial compensation for this current infringement case against HTC Corporation.
Previously, Nokia also sued Apple Inc. on the issue of another chip patent infringement but both parties agreed to settle the case in April 2011. And last September in the amount of 5.44 billion euros, Microsoft agreed to purchase Nokia’s Devices and Services business as well as licence Nokia’s patents.
HTC Corporation expects that their appeal would be acted upon favourably by the U.K. court otherwise the company may be on the verge of losing the whole UK market.
By Roberto I. Belda