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
Senior Editor, PC Build

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.

156 Comments
  • Get 'em Nokia!
  • Souldn't be too hard because HTC is pratically boasting about it: http://blog.htc.com/2013/03/htc-one-distortion-free-recording/
     
    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 :)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP4pgOlOHZ8
  • 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 ;)
  • <