The patent-issues saga, HTC recently faced, continues. After the problems HTC faced in the UK with the possible ban of the HTC One mini, HTC is now in even deeper trouble in Germany. As FossPatents published yesterday, Nokia just won a German injunction against HTC's Android-based devices over a key USB-related patent. According to FossPatents, "Judge Andreas Müller, the Presiding Judge of the 21st Civil Law Chamber of the Munich I Regional Court, granted Nokia an injunction against HTC's Android-based devices infringing EP1246071 on a "method of configuring electronic devices". What's worst for HTC here is the fact, that this applies to all of the company's Android (but not Windows Phone) smartphones - not just one model!
As FossPatents explains, The patent does not cover all USB connections, but it does cover the automatic configuration of an appropriate driver on a desktop PC when a USB connection is established, like doing so to synchronize files, providing access to the devices flash memory or plain charging: "These different use cases require different device drivers, and depending on the choice, the right one will be activated (and, if necessary, installed in the first place). That's what this patent is all about."
FossPatents quotes Nokia with a first statement:
"Nokia is pleased that the Regional Court in Munich, Germany has today ruled that a number of HTC products infringe Nokia’s patent EP 1 246 071, which covers USB functionality in mobile phones.
Today's judgment is another significant milestone in our on-going dispute with HTC, enabling Nokia to enforce an injunction against the import and sale of all infringing HTC products in Germany, as well as to obtain damages for past infringement. This patent is also already in suit against HTC in the UK.
Nokia began its actions against HTC in 2012, with the aim of ending HTC’s unauthorised use of Nokia’s proprietary innovations and has asserted more than 50 patents against HTC in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, UK and US. During 2013, HTC has been found to infringe Nokia patents in venues including the Regional Courts in Mannheim and Munich, Germany, the UK High Court and the US International Trade Commission."
According to FossPatents, Nokia can enforce this ruling on a provisional basis during the appellate proceedings. In order to enforce all parts of the ruling (including a recall of infringing devices from resellers), Nokia has to post a bond or make a deposit of approximately 50 million Euros.
As always, HTC can use a workaround to get rid of the use of Nokia's patent but this would basically mean that HTC phones (but not only HTC phones since this technique is basically used by all/most Google Android phones) would loose a convenient and useful feature; the feature of automatically providing the user the right choice. In any case, the real loser will be the consumer since either HTC's great smartphones would disappear (unlikely) or a useful and handy feature will disappear (more likely).
Cheers ~ Arne