updated 06:40 pm EST, Tue January 15, 2013
Judge sends trio to magistrate judge to hammer out deal
A series of patent cases started by Nokia against ViewSonic and HTC have been referred -- as a group -- to mediation. Judge Leonard P. Stark of the United States District Court has sent the trio to Magistrate Judge Christoper J. Burke to try and hammer out a solution to the patent battles. The order comes nearly a week after Stark set a trial schedule that extends into 2015.
The hardware patents are said to involve technology such as dual-function antennas, power management and multimode radios, while the software patents describe elements of features such as application stores, multitasking, navigation, conversational message display, dynamic menus, data encryption and e-mail retrieval.
Patent analyst Florian Mueller believes that the plan is likely to fail, saying that "if [the companies] had been willing and able to settle the case without guidance from the court, they would have entered into a license agreement prior to any complaint." The individual products at stake will have little relevance in the two-year future marketplace when the trial is likely to happen, but the case is more about Nokia licensing its patents to potential competitors than actual product embargoes.
One of the patents is being heard tomorrow in a German court in another case, related to a "mobile telephone user interface for short messages." The patent is being asserted against both HTC and ViewSonic in the German court, and the trial is likely to be watched by the Delaware court closely. Based on the same patent on telephony being asserted against both HTC and ViewSonic, the patent is likely one used in Android-using products, which could bring additional lawsuits if Nokia prevails. Nokia and handset manufacturer Research In Motion previously signed a license agreement on it separately, which is why the company is not involved in these various cases.