HTC Ordered To Halt Sales in Germany or Face ‘Zwangsgeldverfahren’

HTC has been ordered to stop selling 3G-enabled devices in Germany after the manufacturer withdrew its appeal against a ban instigated a by a patent holder.

Intellectual property firm Ipcom had secured a ruling in February 2009 against HTC in the District Court of Mannheim, regarding a patent relating to 3G technology.

Ipcom sought the order to enforce the patent relating to a user priority assignment algorithm, which Ipcom claim is used in devices throughout the world and is being infringed by HTC via the Taiwanese manufacturers use of it in its 3G devices . The company is also pursuing a similar judgement against Nokia.

HTC had intended to appeal the decision but withdrew its appeal on Friday, with Ipcom claiming that HTC had “accepted it had no realistic chance of winning this case.”

The decision by HTC to withdraw its appeal has led to Ipcom ordering the mobile giant to stop selling 3G devices in Germany, with the company threatening legal action if HTC does not comply.

If HTC ignores the order, Ipcom could invoke a German law called Zwangsgeldverfahren, a penalty system that allows a series of fines to be charged until the party infringing the ban agrees to comply with the court order.

Fellow mobile manufacturer Samsung is also prevented from selling certain devices in Germany and Ipcom has said that HTC cannot evade the injunction through the use of “unspecified work-arounds”, which hints that HTC might follow Samsung’s approach to its Galaxy Tab ban by altering its products so that they no longer infringe the patents in question.

However, HTC later released a statement to suggest that the reason behind the withdrawal was because it believed that Ipcom’s claims were invalid, leading to suggestions that it would defy any ban.

The Statement read: “On Friday, HTC withdrew its appeal in the German IPCom EP1186189 case,

“HTC considers that the appeal had become redundant as the German Federal Patents Court had previously held the relevant claim of the patent to be invalid.”

This recent bout of legal posturing will not be the first that HTC has been involved in – the company is currently in dispute with Apple over an API used by its Android devices.

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