German court backs HTC over Nokia patent claims


Credit: Flickr / adulau

Bad news for Nokia(s nok) if it had serious hopes of extracting licensing fees from Android manufacturer HTC: a German court has just booted out two of the patent claims it launched there in May last year.

The patents in question cover the use of “intelligent network” services such as alternative billing – the premise of this case was that HTC was supposedly infringing by using the Google(s goog) Play app store — and a method for brightening and dimming phone screens. According to CIO, the Mannheim district court found in two separate judgements that HTC was not infringing on the patents in question.

A Nokia spokesman was quoted as pointing out that the company still has 34 patents in suit against HTC, both in Germany and the U.S. He also hinted at an appeal. It’s worth pointing out that BlackBerry(s bbry) — known as Research In Motion at the time — was also one of the companies sued by Nokia, and it ended up agreeing to pay royalties (though not necessarily over these precise patents — such deals are usually pretty murky).

It’s hard to feel sorry for Nokia when it comes to these HTC suits. It looks like the court agreed with HTC that Nokia was exaggerating the applicability of the network services patent – I certainly struggled to see how it could give Nokia a monopoly on app store functionality – and a win for Nokia might have meant unnecessary hassle for other Android manufacturers, too. I guess Nokia will just need to forge ahead with its turnaround on other merits.

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