HTC now has the upper hand in a legal battle with German patent firm IPCom. IPCom won a lawsuit in 2009 related to UMTS technology under which it believed it had the right to ban German retailers from selling HTC smartphones. HTC, however, argued that IPCom’s case was no longer valid and ignored the injunction entirely. As a result, IPCom recently tried to take the law into its own hands by suing more than 100 retailers that continued to sell HTC phones. “Since this deadline has passed without any of the retailers complying, IPCom has sued them for infringement of patent #100A themselves,” IPCom said, noting that it issued cease and desist letters to each retailer on December 6th asking them to stop selling HTC phones by December 20th. According to Taiwan Economic News, the German Dusseldorf court recently granted HTC an injunction that forces IPCom to stop harassing HTC’s retailers with lawsuits. The injunction should be a relief for HTC, which could have faced fines of up to €250,000 for each handset sold under the terms of the original injunction. More →
Whether or not competing products do in fact infringe on Apple’s patents, Apple may have another reason to attack its rivals so aggressively in France and Germany: the company is losing ground. New data from Kantar Worldpanel released on Thursday shows that while the launch of the iPhone 4S was a huge hit in the United States and the United Kingdom, smartphone users in key markets like France and Germany were seemingly not as impressed with the handset. Read on for more. More →
Samsung’s tweaks to the original Galaxy Tab 10.1 weren’t enough to satisfy Apple’s legal team. Apple successfully banned Samsung’s German subsidiaries from selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 after it accused the South Korea-based company of patent infringement. Samsung responded by releasing a modified Galaxy Tab 10.1N tablet it believed had addressed all of Apple’s concerns. Unfortunately, Apple isn’t satisfied with the changes and it wants to ban Samsung from selling the new tablet as well. A hearing for Apple’s request for an injunction is scheduled for December 22nd, Dow Jones Newswires said. The two companies have been locked in patent-related legal battles around the globe and currently have similar ongoing cases in the United States, Japan, France and Australia. More →
IPCom has reportedly moved to ban HTC from selling smartphones in Germany. HTC lost a patent lawsuit to IPCom in 2009 and recently decided not to file an appeal against the ruling, likely in an effort to avoid further litigation it might have faced from a ruling on two additional patent cases. HTC may ignore IPCom’s request to stop selling smartphones because it believes IPCom’s lawsuit is no longer valid. According to BBC, HTC has argued that the German Federal Patents court ruled that IPCom’s patent claim was invalid in December of 2010. Whether or not HTC faces a fine for ignoring IPCom’s request will be the court’s decision. “It’s up to the court and could go up to 250,000 euro per violation per phone,” IPCom managing director Bernhard Frohwitter said, noting that IPCom is still willing to settle with HTC if the two companies can reach a licensing agreement.
UPDATE: HTC supplied BGR with the following statement via email: More →
HTC’s German subsidiaries may soon be barred from selling smartphones in the country following HTC’s recent decision to forgo an appeal to a patent lawsuit won by IPCom in 2009. The ban could spell trouble for HTC smartphone sales during the holiday season. “We will likely use the right awarded by the courts, likely resulting in HTC devices disappearing from shops during the crucial Christmas season,” IPCom said, noting that it hopes to enforce an injunction against HTC’s devices as soon as possible. HTC did not specifically say why it decided to pull its appeal, although The Guardian said HTC has previously indicated that its appeal argument was redundant. “While HTC can try to oppose the enforcement of the injunction, my research shows that the odds are very long against HTC on this one,” patent expert Florian Müller of FOSS Patents said, noting that HTC likely withdrew its appeal to avoid a court ruling on two additional IPCom patents HTC was accused of infringing on. The company recently warned that its revenue could fall 8% this quarter after its Android smartphones were met with tough rival devices from competitors Apple and Samsung. More →
FOSS Patents is reporting that Motorola has won an injunction related to a patent infringement lawsuit in Germany, Europe’s largest market. According to the ruling by a Mannheim Regional Court, Apple is barred from selling any mobile device that infringe on two Motorola Mobility patents filed in April of 2003. Motorola is also reportedly owed for past damages. One of the patents in question relates to GSM, UMTS and 3G, and it is unclear what the second patent covers. If Motorola Mobility actually has won an injunction against all of Apple’s mobile devices in Germany, it would be a huge win for the company and Google’s Android platform as well. We’ll keep you updated.
UPDATE: It looks like Motorola’s win was scored against Apple Inc. rather than its local subsidiary, Apple Germany. As Apple Inc. doesn’t sell anything in Germany, it looks like this is an empty victory for Motorola, but under the ruling, this affects “new goods” which means that Apple can’t deliver new products to Apple Germany. We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out.
More iPhone rumors! New listings on German wireless carrier Vodafone D2’s website add weight to the notion that Apple is planning to unveil only incremental updates at tomorrow’s event. Found by German iPhone fan site ifun, Vodafone’s Elgato Tivizen DVB-T receiver page now lists several new Apple phones as being compatible with the TV receiver. The most notable, of course, are white and black 8GB iPhone 4 models and 16GB, 32GB and 64GB iPhone 4S models, also listed in both black and white. None of these phones have been announced at this point, of course, and all will be revealed tomorrow. More →
Steve Jobs made contact with Samsung in an effort to resolve a patent argument last year, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. However, Jobs did not participate in the discussions that eventually took place and deteriorated, Apple’s patent attorney Richard Lutton explained during a hearing in an Australian court. “Samsung is an important supplier with whom we have a deep relationship” Lutton said while being questioned by a Samsung lawyer. “We wanted to give them a chance to do the right thing.” Samsung and Apple are locked up in multiple patent battles around the globe. Samsung’s German arm has been banned from selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, its Australian branch cannot sell the device until a judge rules whether or not it is infringing on Apple’s patents, and lawsuits are ongoing in the United States and Japan. Apple has accused Samsung of creating “copycat devices,” and has targeted Samsung’s Galaxy S family of smartphones, the Galaxy Tab, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and various other products in the United States. More →
Apple and Samsung are at odds over patents. You might have read about it. In numerous courts, in numerous states, in numerous countries on numerous continents, the pair continue to file complaint after complaint. Apple says Samsung builds copycat devices that steal design elements from its iPad tablet and iPhone smartphone. Samsung says Apple’s mobile devices violate multiple Samsung patents covering communications standards. And round and round we go. More →
German judge Johanna Brueckner-Hoffman has ruled in Apple’s favor on Friday by banning Samsung from selling its GALAXY Tab 10.1 tablets in Germany. “The court is of the opinion that Apple’s minimalistic design isn’t the only technical solution to make a tablet computer, other designs are possible,” the judge said, noting that the Samsung tablet’s “smooth, simple areas” copy the minimal iPad design Apple has protected in Europe. Samsung still has an opportunity to object Brueckner-Hoffman’s ruling. Read on for more. More →
It has been more than six months since HP officially took the wraps off of the Pre3 and it looks like the company is finally getting ready to bring the phone to market. Pre-orders for an unlocked model of the Pre3 have started on HP’s official German website, but don’t get too excited: the German variant has a QWERTZ keyboard instead of the QWERTY layout we’re accustomed to. Other specs include a 1.4GHz Qualcomm processor, a 3.6-inch 800 x 480-pixel resolution display and a 5-megapixel camera capable of recording HD video. The German Pre3 is priced at €349 ($500) and HP expects the phone to ship within one to two weeks. We expect to hear more about U.S. availability shortly now that the device is launching in other parts of the world. More →
The Düsseldorf regional court in Germany announced on Tuesday that it is partially lifting its original injunction that banned Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in all of the European Union except for the Netherlands. Samsung is now allowed to sell the tablet in the whole of the European Union except for Germany. According to The Wall Street Journal, a court spokesperson said that it was unclear if it was even possible for the German court to stop Samsung from selling its tablet outside of Germany. Despite the ruling, which allows Samsung Electronics to sell the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in most of Europe, Samsung’s German arm still cannot sell the tablet in Germany or anywhere in the European Union. Samsung is presumably still scheduled to appeal the ban on August 25th. Apple also recently blocked Samsung from selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia until a court there rules whether or not the tablet is infringing on 10 of Apple’s patents. On Monday, reports surfaced suggesting that Apple has doctored its evidence in is patent case about Samsung, although the legitimacy of those claims remains unclear.
Apple has managed to block sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia and in the European Union, but new evidence from Computerworld’s Dutch sister site Webwereld.nl suggests the iPad maker may be tampering with evidence. According to the report, Apple is using an image of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 that is purposely distorted to look more like the iPad. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is presented with an aspect ratio of 1.36 (the proportions of the device itself, not the display) while the iPad is shown with a 1.30 aspect ratio. However, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet itself actually has a 1.46 aspect ratio. “This is a blunder,” Klos Morel Vos & Schaap lawyer Arnout Groen told Webwereld.nl. “That such a ‘mistake’ is made in a case about design rights can scarcely be a coincidence. The aspect ratio of the alleged Galaxy Tab is clearly distorted to match the iPad more closely. Inasmuch as this faux pas will have consequences for the case is of course up to the judge. But at least a reprimand by the German court seems to be in order,” he added. Samsung is set to appeal the European Union ban on August 25th. Read on for a comparison image of the alleged doctored Galaxy Tab 10.1 next to the real one. More →