Nokia Wins Ban on HTC One in EU, Threatens to Sink Struggling Handsets
April 23, 2013 8:58 AM
comment(s) - last by
HTC's supplier allegedly stole microphone technology that it had produced for Nokia on contract
As the old saying goes, "
When it rains, it pours
Thus far it's been mainly stormy weather for
struggling Taiwanese phonemaker HTC
), which saw its "hero phone",
the HTC One
stymied by supply shortages
. Now just as HTC appears to be expanding its deliveries on the 1080p Android handset, it's been hit by another setback from a familiar foe.
A suit in the Amsterdam District Court, Netherlands has been filed against HTC and its microphone supplier, Geneva, Switzerland-based STMicroelectrics N.V. (
), looking to block shipments of the HTC One. And on Monday Nokia announced that it
a preliminary injunction against the One, an injunction that it will look to mirror in other markets.
According to Nokia, it invented, engineered, and designed the microphones that are currently used (without permission) in the HTC One. It said it had used the microphones in its own phones, but supplier STMicroelectronics funneled the technology to Nokia's Taiwanese rival.
Comments a Nokia spokesperson; "HTC has no license or authorization from Nokia to use these microphones or the Nokia technologies from which they have been developed."
HTC's microphone on the one was allegedly stolen from Nokia.
The microphone in question was billed by HTC as one of the phone's selling points. HTC dubbed it a "dual membrane HDR". Nokia felt this sounded suspiciously similar to the "high amplitude audio capture" mic that it designed for capturing subtle details of music or speech. It took apart and HTC One and inspected the mic, allegedly finding evidence that its technology had been pilfered.
As virtually all handsets today are manufactured in China, a preliminary injunction -- a ban on shipments into a region -- has become a powerful litigation tool that multiple phonemakers have looked to use against each other, of late.
This is hardly the first time Nokia has been down this road. A pioneering veteran in the phone industry, Nokia has
filed around 40 cases
against HTC, a relative industry newcomer.
HTC and Nokia are both vying for third place in the smartphone market. Nokia is the
biggest seller of Windows Phones
, while HTC is among the largest Android phonemakers.
The injunction for now only blocks sales in the Netherlands. But it represents yet another painful delay for HTC. These delays have cost HTC a potentially head-start on Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (
Galaxy S IV
. While HTC's unibody One is an eye-catching design, HTC has traditionally
struggled to compete with Samsung in marketing
. Now it will have to
do precisely that
, even as it struggles with patent litigation.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: A microphone....
4/23/2013 10:34:11 AM
Shouldn't Nokia's beef be with Switzerland-based STMicroelectrics N.V. only?
Yes and No. If Nokia notified HTC of the infringement and they continued to use the part regardless of the notification than HTC is just a liable. However there are lots of things that could be considered like HTC trying to license the technology and Nokia being unwilling to license it. The other issue is we don't know what the agreement between Nokia and STM was. If the agreement allowed STM to sell to other companies if Nokia was unable to meet a certain supply requirements, then STM would have been in their rights to sell the part to HTC.
RE: A microphone....
4/23/2013 11:46:44 AM
I agree. Sounds like ST Micro screwed HTC.
RE: A microphone....
4/23/2013 11:55:18 AM
Yup, the courts did say that HTC wasn't at fault and already produced handsets can still be sold. HTC didn't know about the deal.
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