Thursday, December 12, 2013

HTC says it can again ship the One mini into the UK after winning stay of Nokia patent injunction

HTC has issued a statement to the media (Engadget was first to report) on a decision by the England and Wales Court of Appeal (the order itself has not been published yet):

"HTC is delighted that the Court of Appeals has granted a stay on the injunction against our products. We will immediately resume shipment of all of our devices into the UK, including the entire HTC One family. Similarly, our customers should feel confident in their ability to promote and sell all HTC devices. Even though we plan to aggressively appeal the validity decision of Nokia's EP 0 998 024 patent, we will continue to work with our chip suppliers on alternative solutions to ensure minimal disruption to our business in the future."

On October 30, the England and Wales High Court had held HTC liable for infringement of this patent, which the court deemed valid. HTC had brought the UK action to shoot down the patent with a view to influencing a German case pending before the Dusseldorf Regional Court. Nokia counterclaimed, successfully so far. On December 3, the High Court granted Nokia an injunction, but its scope was limited with respect to the devices it covered, making a distinction between those that HTC created/launched after becoming aware of the infringement allegations (particularly, the One mini) and those it designed before (the original HTC One, for example). The UK injunction order had, as an unintended side effect, revealed HTC's plans for a successor to the One, the HTC One Two. The High Court stayed its own injunction for a few days in order to allow HTC to appeal. HTC did appeal, and the appeals court has now granted HTC a further stay (presumably for the duration of the appellate proceedings).

The HTC statement above mentions that HTC is working with its chip suppliers (Qualcomm and Broadcom) on workarounds. In October HTC was reportedly working with Qualcomm to also work around two Nokia patents underlying a preliminary ITC ruling in Nokia's favor, which is now undergoing a thorough review before an import ban may (or may not) enter into force. Three Nokia v. HTC rulings are scheduled in Munich, Germany, over the course of the next four weeks.

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