Nokia wins German patent injunction against HTC over power-saving technology

Nokia's victory is insignificant because it applies to handsets that are no longer imported into Germany, opponent HTC said

Nokia has won an injunction against the sale in Germany of some HTC handsets that infringe on a power-saving technology for mobile phones.

The District court of Mannheim ruled on Tuesday that HTC infringes on a Nokia patent for power reduction, court spokesman Joachim Bock said in an email. The injunction can be enforced against all HTC entities in the case if Nokia pays a bond of ¬10.5 million (US$13.6 million), Bock said.

Nokia also won the right to recall infringing devices from retailers and is entitled to damages, Bock said. "The amount of the damage cannot be fixed, yet," Bock said, adding that HTC has to give information to Nokia about the number of products sold, among other figures to calculate the amount that should be paid.

HTC said it will appeal the verdict because it believes the patent is invalid and it will also continue invalidity actions pending in Germany and the U.K.

However, the company also said that the court ruling covers three handsets -- the Wildfire S, Desire S and Rhyme -- that HTC no longer sells in Germany, so the ruling is of little significance and its German business will not be affected by it, HTC said in a statement.

While saying it is "naturally disappointed" with the court's decision, HTC called the power-saving technology covered by the patent "trivial" and said it "contributes only a negligible reduction in power consumption." The company "has removed any allegedly corresponding functionality from all of its current German handsets as a precaution against any attempt by Nokia to extend the scope of the judgment unfairly," HTC said.

"As Nokia clearly went to great lengths to assert its strongest patents first, we are confident that its non-essential patent portfolio poses little threat to HTC," the company stated.

Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant declined in an email to comment about whether Nokia plans to enforce the injunction because the company doesn't comment on legal strategy. "It's really now down to HTC to end its unauthorized use of Nokia's innovations in this and the more than 30 further cases asserted against it," he said.

In May 2012, Nokia filed claims against HTC and other companies in the U.S. and Germany, alleging that products from those companies infringe a number of Nokia patents. Nokia wants the companies to stop infringing and start paying licensing fees.

Nokia has patented the same power-saving technology in the U.S., U.K., France, Italy, Sweden, Austria, Japan and Hong Kong, Durrant wrote. At the moment, the same patent has been asserted against HTC in the U.K., and in the U.S. at the International Trade Commission, he added. In the U.S., Nokia is after an import ban on infringing HTC products.

At the beginning of this month, Nokia lost a patent lawsuit it brought against HTC in Mannheim over its use of the Google Play app and content store client app in Android-based devices.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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