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HTC loses second German patent ruling in Nokia case

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- HTC Corp. said yesterday that it will appeal a German court's ruling in which the struggling Taiwanese smartphone maker's products were found to have infringed on a patent claimed by rival Nokia Oyj.

Judge Matthias Zigann of the Regional Court in Munich ruled on Monday that all HTC Android devices using Bluetooth or NFC connections, including the flagship One series, were found to have infringed on Nokia patent EP1148681 registered in Germany, according to a blog post by technology patent expert Florian Mueller.

The patent describes a technology involving a “method for transferring resource information” that covers the transfer of network resource information between mobile devices, and it was not “standard” or “essential,” Mueller said.

The court also required Nokia to put up a bond of 400 million euros (US$550 million) before any injunction against infringing HTC products could be enforced, which HTC called a “rare situation.”

HTC said it will immediately appeal the court's ruling because HTC “firmly believe(s) the patent is invalid.”

It also vowed to continue with the invalidity action already pending before the German Federal Patents Court.

“Even though we believe the first instance court should have sided with HTC on the issue of infringement, notwithstanding the appeal that we will file, we are also now looking into modifications for our handsets to avoid infringement of the patent in question,” the Taoyuan-based company said in an e-mailed statement.

“The decision, if it is enforced by payment of the 400 million euros bond, will apply to HTC, not to our customers and we will make an urgent application to the Court of Appeal to seek a stay of any enforcement,” the statement said.

Nokia said it was pleased with the judgment, which enables the Finnish company 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.

“HTC's first New Year's resolution for 2014 should be to stop this free riding and compete fairly in the market,” Nokia said in a statement.

The ruling marked HTC's second setback in the same German court, which ruled on Dec. 20 that eight of its nine Android mobile phones were found to have infringed upon Nokia's patent EP1246071 relating to a USB technology.

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