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back to article Nokia wins UK patent spat: Quick, let's boot HTC One out of Blighty

Nokia is looking to stop the sale of HTC mobes, including the HTC One, in Blighty after winning a patent case in the High Court. The Finnish firm has gotten off to a good start in its new guise as a patent-peddler now that its devices business has been sold off to Microsoft. The High Court ruled that HTC was infringing on the …

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Seems a pretty clear argument

If Qualcomm can't sell in the UK then neither can their customers (without otherwise licensing said technologies)

Also looks (extremely superficially) like an actual patent.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Seems a pretty clear argument

It's nuts because it will open the flood gates for patent trolls.

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Oh my

First fo all, they need a george takei icon here.

Secondly, HTC seem to be in a river of feces without a tool for pushing against liquids. I do feel somewhat sorry for them in a way because frankly their new phones aren't half bad from what I've seen. But on the other hand as a global company they should be aware of their legal obligations. If they genuinely believed they were covered by qualcomms ownership of a patent license then they need to either a) find out who made this mistake and deal with them. or b) if that person was part of qualcomm and they have records proving it, open up their own case for damages.

Truth be told however even if they thought they were covered and it's not just a legal ploy, ignorance is no excuse, and they deserve what comes to them.

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jai
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Re: Oh my

+1 for George Takei request!

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Re: Oh my

I full support the call for a George Takei Icon.

(even though George Takei is an icon)

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they deserve what comes to them

They will be get what comes to them. However, I can't see the Courts granting injuctive relief. Equitable remedies are normally only given where common law damages cannot suffice.

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Conflicted here

On the one hand Im happy to see HTC get a shoeing for their previous behaviour towards both Sendo and Imate.

On the other hand cheering on a part of the Microsoft borg collective makes me feel dirty.

Quick someone tell me if the patent owners are proper Nokia or MS-Nokia before I have to flaggelate myself.

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jai
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Re: Conflicted here

the article suggests that this is the OG Nokia:

The Finnish firm ... in its new guise as a patent-peddler now that its devices business has been sold off to Microsoft

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Roo
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Re: Conflicted here

"Quick someone tell me if the patent owners are proper Nokia or MS-Nokia before I have to flaggelate myself."

I think this has to be "proper Nokia".

MS-Nokia "only" got licenses to use the patents, so I don't think they get to sue anyone. Don't worry about poor old Microsoft, they have lots of spurious patents of their own and they extort plenty of money with them.

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Re: Conflicted here

Nokia, MS licensed them but didn't buy them. Leaves Nokia free to go after manufactures now they don't make their own phones and MS doesn't get the bad publicity of attacking everyone left, right and centre.

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Re: Conflicted here

@Gordon 10: IANAL, but my understanding is that while Microsoft and Noka have agreed the sale of the Nokia phone division to MS, it doesn't actually happen until the early months of 2014. So while you might say that Nokia are well on their way to assmilation by the borg, it's not final and official yet. Cheer away!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Conflicted here

But HTC are a significant player in the Android market. Without them you'd have to buy a plastic toy phone from Samdung.

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Holmes

Re: Conflicted here

The patents stay at Nokia, Microsoft have the rights to use the Nokia patent portfolio for the next few years...

Although they better double check they have worldwide rights and not just America! ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Conflicted here @ James 51

Yep, if it looks familiar that's because it is. Project SCO all over again.

Now I wonder if you make a Win Phone (aka lump of dogshit) part of the MS Nokia agreement was that 3rd party winphones would be covered by the patent licence from Nokia to MS ? Thus arm-twisting HTC into making winphones.

If that's the case then phone call for Neelie Kroes.

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For a lump of canine crap, that latest Nokia handset sure does take purdy pictures y'all.

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Anonymous Coward

@ returnmyjedi

Great !

We have something in common. I've got a Leica X2 and it's bloody brilliant at taking pictures, which is a pity as it's completely shit at being a smartphone.

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Re: Conflicted here

> MS licensed them but didn't buy them

Not sure whether this particular patent is among them but apparently 8,500 patents are being transferred:

"The deal gives Microsoft Nokia’s ... war chest of 8,500 Lumia and Asha phone patents while licensing 30,000 utility patents..." - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/09/03/microsoft_nokia_rise_of_elop/

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@ returnmyjedi

Oh forgot to ask, is that the Canon Model Nokia D7 you have featured here:

http://www.gsmarena.com/nokia_fakes_lumia_920_pureview_video_issues_an_apology_for_it-news-4765.php

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Conflicted here @thomanski

No patents are being transferred:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/03/us-nokia-microsoft-patents-idUSBRE9820ZZ20130903

MS doesn't want to be seen doing it's own patent abuse dirty work.

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Re: Conflicted here @thomanski

> No patents are being transferred

It's true, both claims are out there. What makes you so sure The Reg is wrong and Reuters is right? I can't tell.

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Re: Conflicted here

Nokia has been trying to take HTC products down for some time. Multiple legal processes clearly started before Microsoft bought them.

Nokia plays dirty.

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Megaphone

Children!

Play nicely, all of you.

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Re: Children!

No - be entertaining and be someone elses!

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Thumb Down

solution proposal

HTC get a refund of the proportion of the licence fee paid in USA and then pay it to Nokia for use in the UK - or better still just net it off and call it quits?

Or is that too sensible, focusing on grown-up business-like behaviours rather than the preferred bonkers MAD that is patent litigation?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: solution proposal

Don't be silly ! That pisses on MS's fuck-u with dodgy patents game.

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Indeed it would, if this spat had anything to do with Microsoft.

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WTF?

How can...

How can, in this day and age, a multinational company only purchase the rights to use a patent it needs for its entire product line that applies in only one country (I'm looking at you Qualcomm)?

And how can, in this day and age, a multinational company purchase parts from another multinational company without checking that the company has all of the necessary patents for the entire world?

Surely this is what those expensive legal departments are for??

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Re: How can...

Definitely agree Qualcomm have some questions to answer around the way they do or do not draw attention to the licensing conditions that surround their components. Likewise given the way (some) components are priced depending upon the commercial use and resale rights included, HTC need to look at their pre-production engineering and component procurement processes.

Suspect the "expensive legal department" only got involved when someone asked them to take a look at something, like when the legal papers from Nokia dropped through the letterbox...

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Re: How can...

I wonder if the reason Qualcomm only bought a US license is that it's for the CDMA stuff. There weren't many people using that standard, other than the US were there? But some recent phones have had the hardware for both built-in, to save having 2 products. Just a thought, anyway. As it could explain why no-one thought to check on the licenses, as there ain't no CDMA to talk to in Blighty.

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Close to a final nail in the coffin?

I very much like HTC because their products appeal to me even if they can be a bit slow with updates and abandon phones early. I really hope this isn't a potential final nail in the coffin for them as they don't deserve to go down.

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Re: Close to a final nail in the coffin?

They aren't slow with updates look it up.

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Re: Close to a final nail in the coffin?

I don't need to look it up I have HTC phones, I know how slow the updates have been and more importantly how often they abandon phones. I like HTC but I'm not going to ignore their bad treatment of customers.

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WTF?

This is bloody insane, yet again :-(

Here's why.

Company (a) makes a device that fulfils a certain purpose; it later transpires that in order to make and sell this device, they had to licence certain tech from company (b) who owned a patent on that tech in the first place.

Company (c) then comes along, says "AH! This device from Company (a) will do the job that we need it to do, and save us wasting time and funding on developing a whole new branch of radio technology, thus allowing us to bring our product to market in a timely manner" and buys a shedload of the company (a) devices that were licenced from company (b).

Company (c) should not, therefore, have to pay (presumably through the nozzle) *again* to use these devices, as there has already been a licence fee paid to the original patent holder.

Thus, the judge got it horribly wrong. This precedent opens up ad infinitum patent fee charging all the way down to (potentially) the end user (purchase surcharge); for once, the US got something right by denying this from happening. It's a horrid precedent, and needs to be quashed.

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Re: This is bloody insane, yet again :-(

I believe the difference is here that Company (a) bought a license from Company (b) ONLY (and presumably more cheaply as a result) for the US.

The test is that if Company (b) can't sell the component in the UK as a result of the patent license then Company (c) using it in the UK isn't covered to sell it (or in this case the product containing it) in the UK

No ad infinitem here, just that if you want to sell a component in, or for use in, a geography, you need a license for it.

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Re: This is bloody insane, yet again :-(

This device from Company (a) will do the job that we need it to do, and save us wasting time and funding on developing a whole new branch of radio technology,

...you forget to add "which might be covered by patents held by someone else anyway that no-one is aware of as yet", so why bother developing anything new?

Patents are a trade-inhibiting and pauperizing crock from A to Z.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is bloody insane, yet again :-(

You perhaps need to re-read it.

HTC are not being expected to purchase licenses that Qualcomm had already purchased from Nokia.

HTC are trying to sell *in the UK* products containing hardware that Qualcomm had only taken out a license for selling *in the USA*. Therefore, neither Qualcomm nor HTC have any rights in the UK at all.

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Re: This is bloody insane, yet again :-(

But out of curiosity. If qualcomm only had license to sell these parts in the USA, and HTC bought these parts via qualcomm USA, and then exported them to the UK etc for sale. Would they have technically broken any rules? Or would they have worked around them.

I actually wonder if this is what HTC was trying to argue. "They had license to sell in the USA, we bought in the USA, we exported for sale in EU, we payed the import charges, why should we be paying the license fees we already paid?"

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Re: This is bloody insane, yet again :-(

> ONLY (and presumably more cheaply as a result) for the US.

They licensed the US patent. The UK patent is the same but has a different number. Each country has an independent patent office and issues patents separately.

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Anonymous Coward

Bang Bang

But, But, But if i cant buy a htc phone who will save me when someone pulls a gun...

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I really don't like this

It seems to potentially open up a new floodgate of patent cases. If HTC buys a baseband chip from Qualcomm in good faith, being told (presumably) that it is fully licensed for worldwide sale, should HTC be liable? Or Qualcomm?

If this is for CDMA, should the fact that CDMA has no functionality in the UK have any relevance? If I implemented a MPEG4 encoder in a product, but it was disabled, should I be liable to pay the MPEG4 licensing fees? Or should that only happen if it was enabled (either by me, or by someone hacking my device) to gain access to that hidden functionality? Personally I think it should be the latter, but I'm sure some would disagree.

If this is part of a standard subject to FRAND, I don't think Nokia should be able to bar sale of HTC phones. This is no different than the Apple/Samsung or Microsoft/Motorola suits in that respect. I wonder if some of those who were hating on Apple when Obama overruled the ban would feel differently if HTC was saved from a UK ban - or maybe they would if it was Samsung that risked a UK ban.

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Re: I really don't like this

Did you read the article? No "presumably" or good faith is involved

"If the licensee has no right to sell in the UK, then a purchaser from the licensee cannot be in a better position."

Oh and "If I implemented a MPEG4 encoder in a product, but it was disabled, should I be liable to pay the MPEG4 licensing fees"

yes duh. if you implement something that you owe licensing on that may somehow be enabled in the future then of course you should pay the fees. To not be liable simply dont go to the effort of implementing it in the first place.

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If Qualcomm have sold the parts to HTC with a supposed worldwide patent then surely Qualcomm are to blame here and should be taken to the court by HTC and it would be bad for Qualcomm's business if HTC (and perhaps others who currently use Qualcomm for parts) decide to ditch them as a supplier and use someone else over this

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RTFA The whole point of the article is that qualcomm didnt have a "supposed worldwide patent" just a US patent so HTC should know better

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I agree with mark: the fault seems to lie with Qualcomm. A purchaser of equipment checking each and every licence for compliance with new markets would be an unusual level of diligence - the word of the supplier would usually be taken.

However, the way that these things run, in the UK at least, is that X sues Y, and Y sues Z after the judgment. I'd be surprised if there is any injunctive relief granted - that is unusual in the UK on this scale - but the damages could be significant. It is these that HTC would sue Qualcomm for in the next round of litigation (and lots more lawyers make fuck-tonnes of money).

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