FINNISH PHONE MAKER Nokia has been granted an injunction banning sales of the HTC One Mini and One Max smartphones in the UK, but has failed to get the HTC One banned.
In October the UK High Court ruled that HTC infringed Nokia's EP0998024 patent, described as a "modular structure for a transmitter and a mobile station".
A UK judge ruled on Tuesday that because of this, HTC can no longer sell its One Mini or One Max smartphones in the UK effectve 6 December. This decision came despite HTC having argued that it and Nokia are "not competitors" in the UK, due to its smartphones running Google's Android mobile operating system and Nokia's running Microsoft's Windows Phone.
Nokia, unsurprisingly, did not agree with this argument. The judge said, "Nokia does not agree, and argued that it has lost sales of Lumia phones since the launch of the [HTC] One range."
While this is bad news for HTC and good news for Nokia, the Taiwanese phone maker must have breathed a sigh of relief during today's ruling, as the judge ruled that the firm has until 6 December to appeal a potential ban on its flagship HTC One smartphone.
The judge said, "So far as the [HTC] One is concerned, HTC's evidence is that the consequences of an immediate injunction will be catastrophic for its UK business because the [HTC] One is its flagship model. HTC paints a dramatic picture of what will happen.
"I accept that the damage which HTC will suffer if prevented from selling the [HTC] One during this period will be both very considerable and very difficult to quantify. The potential harm to HTC outweighs that to Nokia."
Nokia, of course, was pleased about this. A spokesperson for the company told The INQUIRER, "Nokia is pleased that the UK High Court has imposed an injunction on certain HTC products found in October to infringe a Nokia patent.
"If HTC does not succeed on appeal, the injunction will take effect on all infringing products. Nokia is also claiming financial compensation for the infringement of this patent.”
HTC perhaps wasn't so pleased, but covered it well. It told us in a statement, "HTC is pleased by the decision of the High Court of England and Wales to stay an injunction against certain chipsets, including those in our flagship HTC One, pending the outcome of our appeal against the validity and infringement of Nokia's EP 0 998 024 patent.
"Whilst the Court also granted an injunction that affects other third party chipsets, we have filed urgent application to appeal. In the meantime, we are working with our chip suppliers to explore alternative solutions."
During the ruling, the judge noted that he was sceptical about HTC's evidence regarding the HTC One, given that the Taiwanese phone maker will "shortly be launching its new flagship phone" in February or March 2014. This suggests that HTC plans to unveil the successor to the HTC One at Mobile World Congress in January.
Perhaps even more interestingly, the judge let slip that HTC sold "approximately 715,000 smartphones in the UK in the period January to September 2013," which paints a pretty grim picture of HTC's success in the smartphone marketing wars.
Nokia has clarified that the injunction applies to, as well as the HTC One Mini and One Max smartphones, the HTC One SV, HTC One X+, HTC 8X and HTC 8S.
A Nokia spokesperson added, "We have said that it should apply to HTC Desire X, HTC One XL, HTC One X, HTC One S and HTC One V as they use chips which would infringe in the same way as those in the October judgment. HTC had 14 days from November 29 to offer evidence that they were materially different." µ
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