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HTC insists German 3G mobe sales ban is kaput

Android handset maker and IPCom spar over injunction

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German patent firm IPCom has hit back at HTC's claim that an injunction granted in a Mannheim court will have no effect on its sales.

IPCom won a banning order in Germany against HTC's mobiles after claiming the handsets use patented 3G technology. The Taiwanese firm had logded an appeal against the particular IPCom patent, but the smartphone maker withdrew this week because it said that another German court had found "the relevant claim of the patent to be invalid".

HTC then insisted its sales in the country will not be hit hard over Christmas, as reported this week, and claimed that the injunction only covered one handset that was no longer for sale in Germany.

"Furthermore, HTC has modified its implementation of the UMTS standards, so even in the unlikely case that the Mannheim court reinstates an injunction, it will have no impact on HTC’s sales in Germany," the mobile biz added in a statement.

"HTC hereby clarifies that this does not have any impact on HTC business in Germany," the firm emphasised.

IPCom immediately retaliated in the war of words with a statement of its own, saying it had written to HTC to demand that it stops the sale and distribution of all 3G devices in Germany.

"If HTC fails to comply, and continues to sell UMTS-capable devices, IPCom will initiate a so-called 'Zwangsgeldverfahren' under German law, which will result in fines being levied until it complies," the patent firm threatened.

IPCom is insisting that the 3G patent, which specifically describes an algorithm that allows mobile networks to assign priorities to users, is valid and so is the injunction.

"HTC’s claim that it is 'business as usual' in Germany is utterly misleading,” said Bernhard Frohwitter, managing director of IPCom, in the canned statement.

“Fact is: the patent in question is valid, and the Mannheim ruling of February 2009 covers all HTC 3G devices, since the patent covers a mandatory 3G standard, valid for all devices and networks.”

IPCom also claims that the patent can't be worked around. The company has been one of the many combatants in the ongoing smartphone IP wars, having also taken Nokia to court in a number of locations worldwide.

All the fuss is over patents IPCom slurped from Bosch back in 2007, which smartphone makers have argued are too obvious, evolutionary or insufficiently detailed. ®

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