Nokia patent case loss in Germany leads to squabble about what ruling means

Patent holder IPCom said that Nokia needs stop selling existing 3G phones, while Nokia said they aren't affected

Nokia has lost an intellectual property case against IPCom in Mannheim, Germany, but the verdict will have little effect because existing phones aren't infringing on the patent, Nokia said Friday.

Even though the loss will have little impact on its current phone portfolio, Nokia isn't happy with verdict.

"We respectfully disagree with this decision, but almost all of these phones predated the grant of the patent in February 2011 and our products today use different methods," a spokesman at Nokia said via email.

The judgment does not rule on whether Nokia's current mobile devices infringe the patent, according to Nokia. Also, the U.K. High Court ruled in June 2011 that current Nokia products do not infringe patents in this family, which IPCom has also conceded, it said.

The patent in question is related to how access channels are assigned to users in 3G networks. It allows, for example, emergency services to be given priority access, according to IPCom.

IPCom has quite a different take on the verdict, and said that Nokia has to stop selling all its 3G phones in Germany.

The decision does not say that only older models are affected, a spokesman said via email. Therefore, the comment made by Nokia that only older models are affected can be interpreted as a clear intention to mislead the public, he added.

This particular patent battle has been going on since 2007, when IPCom was founded and purchased patents from Bosch, according to IPCom.

So far, 61 IPCom patents have been found invalid as granted or conceded as invalid by IPCom, according to Nokia. The company believes that IPCom needs to recognize its position and end its unrealistic demands for what remains of this significantly diminished portfolio, it said. Nokia will continue its actions regarding what it claims are invalid IPCom patents, and it will also appeal Friday's decision in Mannheim to the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court.

The court in Mannheim didn't reply to questions about the verdict, and what the repercussions will be.

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
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