HTC, Deutsche Telekom Face HTC Sales Ban In Germany Over Patent Infringement


HTC is preparing to file for an appeal after a court ruling ordered its handsets to be banned from future sales in Germany though Deutsche Telekom.

The lawsuit was filed by Acacia Research Group LLC, a Texas-based patent licensing company. David Rosmann, the company’s executive VP, is expecting the injunction against HTC to take effect later this month.

Deutsche Telekom, the German operator responsible for the sale of HTC smartphones, confirmed that a ruling was indeed issued. However, it added that sales of the handsets are still available at the company’s online store.

Acacia reportedly has active licensing deals with a number of mobile industry giants. These include Samsung, Huawei, Apple and even Amazon.

HTC, on its part, is not among the above-mentioned companies that are included in the list. For this reason, the company became a huge target of a complaint filed by Acacia in Germany last year.

The complaint deals with standard essential patents which were related to voice coding technology. By essence, standard-essential patents are those that belong to standard technologies normally adopted by the mobile industry. These are usually subjected to special usage limits in making money.

Acacia filed the complaint last year against Deutsche Telekom on the above-mentioned patents. The company was granted an injunction by the Mannheim District Court in Germany on Nov. 27, banning the sales of HTC’s handsets from the mobile company.

Disappointed by the ruling, HTC said it will file for an appeal while it works with Deutsche Telekom in order to minimize the sales disruption of its handsets to its customers.

It’s not clear just how many HTC smartphone models will be affected by the injunction. It is speculated that sales of the One A9 and One M9 will be among those that will be affected. Whatever the number of affected handsets will be, even a small figure is still a huge blow considering the situation that HTC is currently in.

HTC is one of the top smartphone manufacturers in the world according to volume. However, stiff competition in the mobile device industry has caused the Taiwan-based company to suffer losses.

In 2013, HTC lost its ranking as one of the top 10 handset vendors based on shipments.

In August, the company announced it is cutting costs and will discontinue the sales of some low-priced models. Another move that it has considered is diversifying its focus to other products such as VR headsets and cameras, but it remains to be seen what will come of it.