Friday, September 20, 2013

German court tosses HTC subsidiary's lawsuit against Nokia over video compression patent

This morning the Mannheim Regional Court (which will later hold a Samsung v. Apple trial over a 3G standard-essential patent) announced its finding that Nokia phones incorporating Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipset don't infringe a patent asserted by HTC subsidiary S3 Graphics (EP0797181 on "hardware assist for YUV data format conversion to software MPEG decoder"). HTC can and presumably will appeal this ruling to the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court.

Two weeks ago the Mannheim court had ruled against another lawsuit by HTC (in that case, the parent company itself) targeting Nokia.

For details on the issues in this case let me refer you to my June trial report.

Nokia has already commented on its defensive win:

"Nokia is pleased with the court's decision and believes it is appropriate given the facts of this case.

We believe this decision, which follows the ruling of non-infringement by Nokia of another HTC patent by the same court on September 6, demonstrates the weakness of HTC's assertions against Nokia.

We see HTC's patent infringement allegations as a tactic to distract from HTC's own infringement of Nokia patents. To date, more than 50 Nokia patents have been asserted against HTC in actions in the US, Germany and the UK and an injunction is already in force in Germany against HTC products found to infringe Nokia's power management patent."

This has been a busy week in the Nokia-HTC dispute (which will almost certainly end in a settlement under which HTC will pay royalties, though nobody knows when). On Wednesday Nokia appeared to have the upper hand in a Munich trial over a USB configuration patent it asserts against various HTC devices including the HTC One, and HTC brought a motion asking the ITC to stay the investigation of Nokia's first complaint against HTC, in which a preliminary ruling is scheduled for Monday (September 23). HTC was hoping to settle this deal on very favorable terms by gaining some leverage over Nokia in Germany. That plan doesn't seem to be working out, and in a few months (after the closing of the sale of Nokia's wireless devices business to Microsoft) HTC will have a hard time finding any Nokia products against which to assert patents.

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