updated 01:10 pm EST, Fri November 25, 2011
HTC may face ban on phones, tablets by IPCom
HTC faced another setback Friday after it decided to drop an appeal against a ban on its 3G devices in Germany. The company made the surprise reversal after it decided that it wasn't likely to win against IPCom, which claims all of HTC's 3G hardware violates its patents. IPCom claimed that it would have "no choice" but to ban HTC's hardware before the end of the year, as HTC had "never" had any cash offer that could be enough to cover the patents.
IPCom also had ambitions of trying to ban Nokia. It believed it had a good chance against Nokia, since the same court and even judge were presiding over a similar lawsuit.
HTC has been facing a string of poor news in just one week, having lost its core S3 with Apple in the US and lowered its outlook with implications that Apple and Samsung were outperforming it in the market. A German ban would deprive it of sales in one of the largest European countries and could compound its situation further.
IPCom is likely to agree to a payment. Practicing a patent campaign of the kind normally only seen in the US, it bought patents from Bosch in 2007 and has so far tried to base its business on lawsuits and royalties rather than products. Some companies have opted to pay for a license first rather than contest the validity of the patents.
The use of 3G standards patents is quickly becoming a focus of attention in Europe and has led to early EU inquiries into Samsung possibly abusing its own patents to try and counter Apple. Some laws in the continent ban the use of standards patents for lawsuits if the owner has tried to offer a fair price.