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Nokia granted preliminary injunction against HTC by court in the Netherlands over mic tech

We're not talking patents, but Nokia has dealt yet another blow to HTC. The Finnish handset maker has been granted a preliminary injunction by the Amsterdam district court, regarding technology utilised by HTC in its flagship device - the HTC One. It's boasted that the HTC One sports high-amplitude microphones, but this is the same dual-membrane technology that Nokia uses in its Lumia family of Windows Phones (we've even looked at the Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X recording a live event).

Nokia has supplied the above image that shows the same component in both the HTC One and Nokia Lumia 720. The only visual difference is a single digit. We've reached out to Nokia to confirm that "TD V1.4" refers to Nokia's own code for the component, while 302 and 307 both refer to the manufacturing dates. It's also noted that this isn't a patent issue with HTC, but a breach of an NDA between Nokia and ST Electronics.

The microphone components were "invented and manufactured exclusively for Nokia." The company states that HTC has no license to use said components or utilise technology developed and it is this reason why Nokia has taken steps to challenge HTC. This will affect the Taiwanese manufacturer far and wide. Speaking of patents, Nokia is also on the offensive against HTC with more than 40 patents being asserted.

Engadget received the following response from HTC on the microphone component:

"HTC is disappointed in the decision. We are considering whether it will have any impact on our business and we will explore alternative solutions immediately."

Source: Engadget

Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Get 'em Nokia!
  • Souldn't be too hard because HTC is pratically boasting about it:
    Nokia said the technology in question is "high amplitude audio capture" and enables high-quality recording of music from mobile phones. Nokia said it took apart the HTC One to confirm the microphone, which HTC called "dual membrane HDR", was the same as its own.
  • 1. Forget the article. Just look at the differences in craftmanship. Nokia looks like a hand crafted beauty. HTC looks like parts glued together in a sweatshop.
    2. HTC is disappointed that the court ruled they are basically thieves? This is a new one.
  • So true lol
  • The HTC One looks like a mess under the hood. This is the crap we're competing with?
  • What do you mean by "we"? Do you work for Nokia or something?
  • In spirit I do.
  • ha good one. join the army!
  • Your right. That is a real mess.
  • Regarding point 1. First thing that came to my mind when I saw that pic.
    And one of them is a mid-tier phone while the other is a flagship.
  • 1.  LMAO... wow.  You're right.
    2.  I'm sure they'll come to an agreement and pay Nokia some Royalties... which is the type of activities that will only help them in the long run... except for the whole exclusivity thing.  I wouldn't make them pay... I would just let them use the component and change their branding to HTC ONE w/ Nokia Microphone Technology.
  • WAHAHAHA that would be AWESOME!
  • Excellent idea!! LOL!
  • Charge them royalties on the Android devices, just make them use the naming if they make a Windows Phone version.
  • Yeah really?
    Is the HTC One a prototype or is the difference really that big?
  • +920! wtf?! didn't realise how chaotic the HTC one chip lookes o_0 thanks for pointing that out erzhik. 
  • As an Engineering student (although I study Chemical I still have Electrical engineering friends), I can say with the right image I would honestly imagine it being made by a graduate student or something and he's trying it out. I would refuse to believe the right image was made by a machine if it weren't for it being official... Wow. Kinda makes me wonder how my 8X looks inside :S
  • Well - HTC or Foxconn dont neccessarly need machines, do they :) 
  • looooool what you did there. I see it.
  • boom! Teardown of the htc 8x :)
  • WOW how is it that this phone looks well crafted yet the other one doesn't? HTC doesn't learn from their successful products I guess huh? *Shakes fist furiously*
  • To be fair, the One is thin, light and has a lot of power packed under the hood.
    The 920 is a thick, heavy brick with only a dual-core processor.
    The One definitely exceeds anything Nokia's got in terms of sheer hardware power under the hood.  That the internals aren't "elegantly aesthetically laid-out" means less to the user than the actual user experience, including the weight, thickness and power of the phone -- where the One totally spanks anything Nokia's got.
  • Ouch you are right and i'm an HTC fan as well.
  • 1. I would call it "the beauty and the beast". lol
  • "HTC looks like parts glued together in a sweatshop."...ROFL :D
  • Damn one question I have about these types of things. Wouldn't companies have to check this stuff out before manufacturing?
  • I guess no checking if your company comes from Asia.
  • They may be following the Samsung model. Which is try and sell so many before you get caught that the profits completely outweigh the fines. Just my thought as always could be totally wrong :D
  • Or even better, sell as many as you can and by the time the lawsuit and injuction comes, you will be on to the next model and the injunction won't mean anything. Nokia caught HTC early. The one just went on sale.
  • Exactly. Google preaches this model. Steal from the best, take credit for the work, pay the (puny) fine.
  • Absolutely horrible act by HTC (and ST). This is not copying, this is stealing! I hope that the One gets banned until they solve this.
  • There should be a recall of all unsold HTC One devices and the offending components removed. HTC should have to rework the device. It may not necessarily be HTC's fault because they weren't the ones breaching the NDA, but they shouldn't profit from and continue to sell stolen goods. I imagine HTC also has a nice lawsuit at the company who provided the stolen chip (assuming they can prove they had nothing to do with the theft.)
  • I bet Samsung is tearing apart some HTC phones right now
  • Think they would find enough in their own phones....
  • I think Samshit already took apart 920 and trying to see which road to take to make it their own.
  • Samshit, really. Grow up, that puts you in the same crowd as people who decide to use M$, SamDung or HTSux in their comments!!!
  • Yup Samshit
  • How old are you, 12. I thought the Windows Phone community was above this sort of thing now, I guess I was wrong :-/
  • I agree with this. Some comments get way out of hand.
  • ...and then they will be like:
    –Doesn't it look like that chip we put in the Galaxy S3?
    –Right, you mean the one we copied from Nokia or the one from Apple? :-D
  • Damn, how stupid can you be?
    HTC One has already been delayed mutiple times and with GS4 coming out soon, it' s not looking good for them. 
  • This is pretty damning for HTC. I hope Nokia gets this settled as soon as possible, because that is Nokia technology being used by HTC without a license. This is, quite literally, stealing.
  • HTC didn't necessarily know they were stealing it.
  • STE: Psst, hey mister, wanna buy some HAAC chips for cheap? Then you can say you have HD recording!
  • LOL.
    All jokes aside, it could have happened something like that, but in a business manner.
  • yeah, more like "here is a catalog of pictures for all our chips.  one of these is that I'm not pointing at is used in Nokia's flagship phone"
  • inteller!      That's hilarious!!!!   I can easily imagine that is how it could have gone down.   You've got the tone of ethical rot and "plausible" self-deception down to a T.    That's super funny!!!
  • Didn't know the 720 was a flagship phone lol, which is even worse that they didn't go after the big items, just the middle one
  • The High Amplitude microphone is a key feature of Nokia Lumia 920. HTC should know better to find out the IP implication of using that feature. This is especially critical nowadays when smartphone companies are suing each other on patent infringement. But if HTC didn't know they were stealing it, HTC design team and IP team indeed did a lousy job on the design of the phone.
  • What are the odd of that? You really think they haven't dissected all of Nokia phones by now.
  • The important question now is what is HTC going to do about those HTC Ones that have not been sold yet, or are still to be manufactured, now that they know they were stealing without their knowing it.
  • Let the war begin
  • Naughty HTC
  • Not HTC's fault
  • They had no idea that they were using Nokia's technology... why would they ?
  • Let's give HTC the benefit of the doubt and say they didn't know they were stealing previous to this incident. But now that they know, what are they going to do about all those HTC Ones that have not been sold yet, or are still to be manufactured, now that they know they were stealing after all.
  • oh come on, don't you believe that the company would've compeletly checked where and what all the components came from when the device is being manufactured? I bet some big heads over at HTC knew about this and decided to play the silent game...ALL because they did not want to have to delay the One's launch by having to find additional mics for the devices.  I mean it makes perfect sense.  HTC is relying on their one and only flagship device (the One) to turn the company around from continued falling revenue.  The SGS4 -Samsung which is definitely HTC's rival and the leader of all Android devices sold, launches their flagship a week/two weeks later than the One.  --- There were already talks with the One seeing a delay in launch due to manufacturing problems (supposedly not enough supply of camera components?) --- But it simply didn't happen.  It launched on time with Samsung still waiting for their launch this week.   Don't you think that it would've been way more beneficial for the One to launch on schedule before the SGS4?  -I do.  Had they had to switch components (mics), they would indefinitely had to delay launch and shipments.  Plain & simple... I hope Nokia shows no mercy on this to both ST-E and HTC.  Theft is theft.  It's been a nice run HTC...recovery will be bad from this.   
  • Is this really HTCs fault? ST Electronics sold HTC a chip that belongs to Nokia. How should HTC know? In my opninion ST is the one to blame.
  • "How should HTC know" ... Yeah right, you aren't that naive really are you?
  • That doesn't mean that Nokia doesn't have the right to ask for an injunction.  If HTC has no knowledge of this decision, and can prove that they're suffering damages due to said decision, they can sue ST Electronics to recover losses.
  • How the heck can you not know? I guess HTC run pretty lean from a staffing standpoint compared to Nokia, but these devices don't just happen to come together with pinball parts.
    As to the build quality - it doesn't look amazing, but I would argue that Nokia could do a better job of utilizing all the space. 
  • Indeed. Whether HTC knew or not that they were using a chip that they weren't supposed to is only a part of the story. Who knew for sure is ST, who breached the NDA. So I suppose ST is responsible in first place and was or should have been fined as well. If HTC now suffers losses and is innocent, they'll be able to sue ST for damages.
  • dissappointed !!! lol
  • Nokia is so smart. This will definitely delay any future HTC devices.
  • Sounds like someone's in trouble, no pun intended. Boomsound yo
  • LMAO!!!
  • And boom! You're dead, HTC!
  • And boom goes the dynamite
  • look at the hardware design inside lumia 720 then compare it to htc one design in the picture and you will know who's the hardware  Pro
    In the end HTC will end up paying Nokia a serious amount of money as I do not see them changing their design, if not for anything else but for the horrible build quality of the phone as is..
  • well Nokia should be ready to license it.
  • There is no reason why Nokia has to license their technology if it is not essential to a phone's operation. That is clearly the case in this issue so Nokia can do as they see fit to protect their proprietary tech.
  • This explains why HTC's always start to have issues after a while. The inside is a mess! In turn Nokia looks like a piece of Art, inside and out!
  • Why you people so happy, it's not like you personally win smth from this. I mean, yes, Nokia has a point, but what's with this yyipie-ya-yey m*therf*cker attitude? You are not Bruce Willis in die hard series.
  • As a Nokia shareholder, I would say that I DO personally win from this.
  • Yes sir you are correct!
  • Please speak English, can you translate  this "yyipie-ya-yey m*therf*cker" to everyone who do not speak your dialect?
  • bbqrooster don't be petty.   Yes, perhaps Florin Anghel is not a native English speaker.   Yet the likelihood is that everyone knows what Anghel is saying, especially since Anghel mentioned "Die Hard" and may be trying to avoid cussing in a online forum...
    Apparently it is "Yippee ki-yay" and there is some potential question as to exact spelling on the web.
  • No bias in the reporting either. The Lumia phones are pretty terrible, Nokia should concentrate on improving their devices before they join HTC in going out of business next year.
  • Yeah you're right, investing money into R&D and then just allowing your competitors to use your technology for their own benefit without paying you a dime for it is a sound strategy to stay in business.
  • I have used various HTC mobile's running windows mobile/ phone now for many years and have always found them to be exemplary. The have supported Microsoft long before Nokia showed up in their last chance saloon. Enjoying my 8x every day.
  • So now its MS fault that HTC used someone elses technology? Just because they made windows Mobile/phone for years means nothing when you don't support it like you should. I really like the HTC 8X series phones, but as stated, they don't promote or support WP like they do android and for this reason alone, I could care less about what happens to them concerning this matter.
  • "I could care less". So you care a little bit then 
  • This report is on HTC infringing Nokia's intellectual property. You have a problem comprehending the news article? Notwithstanding if your accusation is true, what does this have to do Nokia staying in business?
  • ?
  • If you want an HTC One with HAAC mics, better buy one now.
  • I don't believe you can buy one now.
  • AT&T
  • Depending on where you live. They're in stores all over Europe.
  • Almost looks like the HTC One should have a vacuum tube somewhere in there :-D
  • LOL
  • Everyone needs to understand that HTC is not neccesarily the violator here. The situation can be a couple different ways, but ST Electronics is definitely the one to blame.
    Nokia had ST Electronics make them something special that only Nokia could use. HTC might not have been aware of this and ST Electronics sold them the component ignoring the deal they had with Nokia.
    ST Electronics is the real violator. They agreed to only sell the component to Nokia, and then sold it to HTC. Whether HTC was aware of the deal or not is something unknown, but irrelevant. If cash is coming out of anyone's pockets, it's ST Electronics.
  • Its not quite that simple.  The cash comes out of HTC's pocket first as they have to recall the device, lose sales, lose marketing dollars spent for a device that is unavailable, relaunch later, etc.  Not to mention the marketshare and mindshare lost as HTC looks like a copycat.
    HTC would then have to sue ST for damages as a result of all this.  But that is far down the road, and HTC may be in serious financial jeopardy before that even comes to trial.
  • Very well put. My statement was in regards to cash going to Nokia, but I didn't explain that. HTC still isn't the bad guy here. But they will suffer from it.
  • Well it would be fun to see how many of HTC devices over the years have used others tech,most don't remember that HTC started as a OEM hell they made treos
  • I'd like to know how did HTC find ST Electronics in the first place, 'cause it seems to me like this is not the only cool feature from Nokia's flagship HTC tried to get into their own. I'm thinking of Optical Image Stabilization and high aperture lenses to archive good low light photos on the Lumia 920.
  • Those you mention are not proprietary technologies. Apple has been "inspired" by other manufacturer's technology since the first iPhone, including the capacitive touch screen, yet they did not buy or licence components in breach of exclusiveness agreements. So HTC copying is fine, HTC putting illegal components in their phones is not (regardless of the fact that it seems to me that ST are the bad guys here and of whether HTC knew or not).
  • You're very right, but what I'm trying to say is precisely that HTC has gotten too much ‘inspiration’ from Nokia in my opinion. Well, I guess that’s what you have to do if you can’t come up with the idea in the first place ;)
  • To make it more clear, NOKIA invented and designed the chip and JUST outsourced the manufacturing to ST electronics. So the agreement was the chip will only be supplied to and used exclusively by NOKIA, covered by NDA. Now somehow HTC got it as well from STE. 
  • I hear that ST is gonna fire whoever sold the component. Why is that the wise person comments last and dumb people points the fingers first?
  • That One really look like a mess...
  • these two pictures show you a glimpse at how far ahead in manufacturing processes Nokia is to HTC.
  • Lol... Take that HTC, Or just make us a good WP and we quit bitchin'
  • That image should be a Nokia ad. The inside of The One looks like Macgyver just put it together on the spot with whatever he had handy
  • They were framed! FRAMED I tell ya!!
  • Doesn't this affect the rumored HTC M4, it uses HAAC mics. Well not now.
  • I am having a hard time believing that's the inside of the HTC One...
  • Agreed. I am a Nokia fan, but that simply HAS to be a One prototype or something...
  • right!? It looks hastily thrown together...
  • Wow. HTC just screwed themselves with this move. They'll have to move quickly to settle fast at whatever terms they can get; stopping sales of the One isn't an option.
  • Nokia has no reason to settle this, unless HTC is willing to pay a buttload.
  • HTC taking full credit for "its" technology:
  • "With the introduction of BoomSound in the new HTC One, we solve this challenge by delivering two dual-membrane MEMS microphones to record audio." Of course they even named it! Pitiful.
  • "Once again, Nokia calls on HTC to compete using its own innovations and to stop copying from Nokia." - Nokia's statement.
    Hmmm the design of those 2 'Windows Phones' by HTC, now they needed all the cool stuff Nokia's got in their new flagship and it seems they were able to get some OIS of their own, but the HDR microphones… oh boy!
  • Why should HTC have to pay for this? from the article it seems that ST
    Electronics should be paying up due to them breaking their NDA Nokia is being greedy its the new apple whats up with this all cell phone manufacturers are sacred of HTC ONE
  • Lol lol
  • Nokia is like apple when it comes to quality...
    I don't think Nokia is being greedy at all. Nokia is being protective when it comes to their technology and their future as an OEM. Nokia is in no position to let other companies make mistakes at Nokia's expense.
  • Nokia and Moto have more patents then anyone else they started all this business over 20 years ago
  • And apple goes for UI shit like patents for a rectangle phone are the screen bumping on a gesture,this is real hardware
  • Imagine you work in a R&D team that you personally bankroll. Over the course of 5 years you work on 9 projects, only one of which is eventually deemed original, technically mature and commercially viable (which is typical), so that one invention is put into production. Six moths later you discover the manufacturer is selling your invention to your competitors. You would defend your investment too, would you not? Now imagine me calling you greedy for doing so. Does that make any sense at all?
  • At least according to US law, possession of stolen property is an offence, even if you were not aware that it was stolen.
  • I think over on bgr, someone mentioned that ST was openly peddling the chip in question. They posted the spec sheet that corresponds and is sent to companies that want to use said chip. If this is true, then HTC might not be as culpable as we all think.
  • Giving HTC the benefit of the doubt, they might not have known it before, but they now know with certainty that they are dealing with stolen technology. If they continue to sell the HTC One, that makes them partners-in-crime.
  • it's a double sale. Nokia got the deal first with exclusivity.
  • HTC might not be 100% responsible but one way or another they are going to pay for someone's mistake.
  • Who even cares.
  • Nokia?
  • Nokia putting HTSux in more debt.
  • You know HTC is doing very bad financially these days.. Is this the final nail?
  • Put together the One looks nice but man its got a dirty closet on the inside lol
  • Word has it that the next Samsung phone will look like a Lumia.
  • I doubt it, out of Samsung, HTC and Nokia the only two with original designs for this generation of Windows Phones are Samsung and Nokia.The ATIV S and Lumia 720/920 designs looks like a smaller Galaxy Note and larger Lumia 800 respectively but at least Samsung and Nokia are reusing their own designs.
    Granted that might change though but there's nothing wrong with getting a little inspiration from the competition, is there. Unlike HTC who, with the 8X and 8S, ripped off Nokia with their designs.
  • ...So... You are implying Nokia doesn't have its own design in the form of x20 family? Well, 920 being the iconic one of the bunch, but 720 isn't that far off either.
  • Thanks for pointing that out, I edited the original comment.
  • So ST makes a part for Nokia. Nokia does not buy the promised quantity and sells the part to HTC. ST and Nokia are to blame here.
  • No
    Jaw breaking yawn, so bored of Nokia, Samsung, Apple, HTC suing each other all over the world for various reasons. All washing their dirty linen in public squabbling like a bunch of 12 year old school girls. 
  • I agree with this. Companies shouldn't be able to bring legal action over technology patents. There should just be a rigorous review process of tech before it is released, to ensure there is no patent breach.
  • This is not a patent dispute about how to do something, but HTC (via ST Microelectronics) using effectively an illegally copied part in their device.  This looks to be very bad news for ST Microelectronics, if I was still working for Toshiba or a similar ASIC company then I would be knocking on Nokia's door and grabbing a lot of business right now as ST Microelectronics is looking very dodgy, who is going to trust them now? (assuming I read the story right).
    HTC's reply is telling too "We are considering whether it will have any impact on our business and we will explore alternative solutions immediately"  I read assessing impact to business==how much to sue ST Microelectronics?, and going straight to alternatives==we are in the wrong, we have no alternative.
  • Damn, how stupid can you be? Fitflop Shoes.
  • This one is pretty big, some people are confusing this with the patent disputes regarding lock screen features.
    But if the article is correct (no reason not to, especially since the part number on both devices has NOKIA's own part number on it!).  Then this means that ST Microelectronics entered an exclusive agreement with Nokia to produce a chip (maybe just providing the foundry while Nokia produced the actual design - I would like to hear details of this), if so then HTC have effectively used someone elses chip (it would be like a Samsung phone including an Apple A6 processor).
    This would be clear cut and either HTC would have to pay Nokia unlimited costs to use the chip (Nokia would be free to name any price they want to carry on using it), or HTC will have to recall their current devices and redesign it.  I wonder here if Nokia was even waiting to pounce since this is the worst possibly timing for HTC with an already delayed launched (although it is more likely just Nokia having the first opportunity to take one apart and finding out exactly how they achieved their microphone tech).
  • For the ppl complaining the One looks like a mess inside, well, you are just seeing a small portion of it. Just google pictures of the HTC One teardown, the inside isn't all that bad. To be fair, the 720 is a much weaker phone in terms of hardware, so less components, yet it us thicker.
  • "Invented by and manufactured for"
  • This is for 'paulheu' above. I'm a proud Lumia 920 owner and I'm not going anywhere. But if you think for one second the HTC one is Horrible build quality, then you obviously looked at a Samsung by mistake. The build quality of the 'one' is stunning. Its, arguably, one of the most premium built handsets I've ever held...period! (2nd to only the 920, of course) and to claim otherwise is just...............Wrong! Its too bad that HTC may not be able to sell many of em before this little quandry is settled.
  • I have to agree. The One blew me away when I saw it. In my opinion its better than the S4 the Samsung rep showed me. If I were to choose any android phone that would be the One ( get the One? Lol).
  • Do any of you actually read the article?  The main 'culprit' in all this is the manufacturer of the chip, STE.  They are the ones who signed an exclusivity deal, yet the chips found their way into HTC phones.  Unless HTC physically broke into STE and stole the chips!
    You go to a pawn shop.  You buy a watch.  Later its found the watch is stolen... its fair for everyone to call you a crook?
    At the same time, maybe HTC DID make an underhanded deal to get the chips, but I don't understand why everyone only wants to make one-way assumptions.  If you're going to assume god damn it, then assume all possibilities.  Hey, if any of you REALLY want to make crazy conspiracies and assumptions, they why haven't any geniuses hypothesized that maybe Nokia encouraged STE to sell HTC those chips so they could pull the rug from under them later?  That's really not any more or less plausible than thinking HTC "stole" the chips.
    With all that said... my best uneducated guess is that HTC got a Lumia 920, broke it down... then tracked down the suppliers of the parts to use for their phone.  Which, sounds horrible, but its nothing new, especially for Asian companies.  But even with that shady possibility, its still on STE for selling something to HTC they were contractually obligated to not sell.
    And no I'm not an HTC fanboy.   Haven't owned an HTC handset since the HD2...
  • I don't think half the readers read the entire article. Many are just showing their extreme fanboyism for Nokia and calling HTC crap.
  • Totally agree with this. Also the latest article states the court has said, HTC are blameless.
  • It's STMicroelectronics actually... :) Not STE which is a co-operation between STM and Ericsson.
  • The way I look it is Nokia can sue st for a breach of contract. HTC if not knowingly received used this chip could sue st electronics for not informing them and getting them into this mess to begin. HTC could technically use the lack of notice from st to wiggle room some defense against Nokia but imo Nokia will win this.
  • Bottom line Nokia benefits from ST's mistake.
    Nokia's technology has been used by a competitor without their consent & Nokia is in no position to allow a competitor to make money off their product.
    Remember Nokia is still in Danger...
  • That's really taking the mic.
  •   HTC found blameless over Nokia microphone technology used in the One Sorry Nokia, your little game FAILED.
  • “HTC is disappointed in the decision. We are consulting with STM and will decide whether it is necessary to explore alternative solutions in due course. In the meanwhile, we do not expect this decision to have any immediate impact on our handset sales.”
    HTC... What other outcome were you expecting?!
  • Just take a quick look at how each company organizes the components of their devices and you can easily see who has the better quality phone! the HTC One looks like an old TV!