Hardware, Software Programs

HTC Dealt Patent and HTC One Supply Chain Blows

Nokia just won a German patent injunction against HTC regarding the power-saving technique – and that is not the only piece of bad news for the Taiwanese manufacturer in the same day: while they have put their hopes on the flagship HTC One, it is being pushed back to late March or early April for the very first set of shipments.

Let us begin with the decision of the Mannheim Regional Court in Germany this morning, where HTC seems to have "lost the leverage". As Florian Müller writes on the FOSS Patents – it will likely be the case unless Qualcomm makes it possible for HTC to deactivate the used patent (EP0673175, reduction of power consumption in the mobile station). HTC was simply unable to deny the infringing on their devices using a Qualcomm baseband chip, and Nokia notes that the patent in question is protected within the US and the UK as well.

"In addition to a sales ban Nokia also won a recall of infringing devices from retail and a declaration that it is entitled to damages (the amount of which would have to be determined in a subsequent litigation). With a view to damages, HTC must makes disclosures to Nokia regarding any infringing activities.", noted Müller. In total, Nokia is asserting 40 different patents against HTC in three markets: US, UK and Germany. A complete list of the patents involved may be found below:

HTC is actually suing Nokia in Germany in a few cases, and one of them is regarding their own power management patent. Nokia’s official statement was short and with the perspective that HTC now has to respect their "intellectual property and compete using its own innovations." HTC on the other hand claims that their infringing devices are not sold in the German market anymore, and that the patent itself is of no major importance today. However, Müller thinks the scope of this decision may actually be much broader than they realize – while HTC refers to exemplary accused devices in their statement, the injunction may apply to all of the devices coming with a Qualcomm chip, although HTC may have found its way around the patent.

The patent battleground in Germany does somewhat lose focus when compared with the shipping delays of the new flagship HTC One, which was supposed to pull the Taiwanese company back onto right track. Various HTC executives attributed the delay in shipments to shortages of components (including camera parts). Suppliers are to blame for the delays, but HTC apparently was not "reliable" enough for them in the past – an unnamed HTC executive said: ?The company has a problem managing its component suppliers as it has changed its order forecasts drastically and frequently following last year?s unexpected slump in shipments. HTC has had difficulty in securing adequate camera components as it is no longer a tier-one customer.?

Although HTC One was announced before the Galaxy S IV, if they somehow clash on delivery dates chances are HTC will be on the losing side of the story.