During today’s closing arguments between HTC and Nokia regarding the potential sales ban in the UK of the HTC One due to being found to infringe on a Nokia patent by a UK High Court judge after all testimony was presented, the judge went a step further and asked if the information presented by Nokia’s counsel regarding a new HTC flagship model for 2014 was indeed factual to HTC’s legal counsel.
As HTC’s legal counsel did not contest the evidence presented by Nokia and overseen by the judge, it’s been concluded that HTC does indeed have a successor to the One flagship smartphone, with a March launch for the UK.
From the ruling filed by the judge:
“I accept the damage which HTC will suffer if prevented from selling the One during this period will be both considerable and very difficult to quantify.
In the case of the One Mini however, the damage HTC will suffer if it is wrongly prevented from selling it pending an appeal is not as serious. More importantly, HTC designed and launched the One Mini at a time when it knew it was facing a claim for infringement of the patent and apparently did so without any contingency plans
“I am bound to say I am somewhat sceptical about this evidence given that HTC will shortly be launching a new flagship phone which cannot be assumed to infringe and therefore be caught by the injunction.
“Nevertheless, I accept that there is a period between now and February or March 2014 when HTC is vulnerable.”
With the judge ruling that HTC did indeed infringe on Nokia’s 1998 patent for data transmission with its current lineup, which includes the One smartphone lineup, along with its Windows Phone lineup in the 8X/8S, the judge presiding over the case has handed down a guilty verdict, with the import ban set to begin this Friday should the appeal be heard and not succeed. Currently the only model immediately banned from sale is the One Mini. Nokia had originally sought a complete sales ban of all current HTC smartphones, including its target in the One.
However, the judge did also recognize HTC’s current financial woes and did allow them opportunity to contest the ruling thanks to the timing of the next release, though it would mean that HTC would have to immediately halt sales of the above models alongside the One Mini until the matter was completely resolved and the appeals process completed, which will lead to even more losses for the struggling manufacturer as the UK is the largest European market for HTC. The ruling revealing the new HTC model has been published, which also contains the details of the import ban and verdict.
For its part, HTC has sent this statement to the media:
“HTC is pleased that the court stayed an injunction against the HTC One pending the outcome of an appeal against the validity and infringement of Nokia’s patent and has filed an urgent application to appeal” while Nokia has stated that HTC still owes it financial compensation for the patent violation and has recognized HTCs move to halt imports of its lineup other than the HTC One until the appeal is heard and finished.