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Nokia receives preliminary ITC ruling against HTC, may lead to a US import ban

One of the many legal battles involving smartphone manufacturers is Nokia suing HTC over several patent infringements. Nokia filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC) claiming HTC encroached on several patents with their Android based devices. 

Through the course of the litigation several of the claims were dropped leaving three patent claims to be ruled on. An Administrative Law Judge with the ITC has issued a preliminary ruling against HTC on two of the three remaining patent claims which very well could lead to a U.S. import ban against HTC.

In the preliminary order, Judge Thomas Pender ruled,

"The Administrative Law Judge hereby determines that a violation of Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, has been found in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, or the sale within the United States after importation of certain electronic devices, including mobile phones and tablet computers, and components thereof, in connection with the claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,415,247 and 6,393,260."

The two patents in dispute includes one on a "method for attenuating spurious signals and receiver" and one on a "method and arrangement for transmitting and receiving RF signals through various radio interfaces of communications systems".

The third patent dealt with tethering was not found infringed upon by HTC.

HTC and Nokia will now petition the International Trade Commission for a review of findings which could lead to a U.S. import ban on HTC Android devices. It is more likely a situation where HTC will have to pay licensing fees to Nokia to continue to use the patented technology should Nokia prevail with the ITC.

This latest ruling against HTC comes on the heels of another lawsuit filed in German Court by Nokia claiming USB configuration patent infringement by HTC.  A lawsuit in which analysts feel that Nokia will likely prevail in.  If successful in either the German action or the ITC complaint, it could prove costly for HTC to either pay for the licenses to use the technology or redesign their Android devices.

You can read Judge Pender's redacted ruling here (opens in new tab) (full ruling will be issued later).

Source: Foss Patents (opens in new tab); Thanks, Riffraffy, for the tip!

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • Ooooo...harsh..... Banning from Us which is their highest market probaly :(
  • .....But MS gets $ on HTC units....
  • MS is going to be an IP force in mobile for quite a while, even if they continue to have almost no success in the marketplace.
  • MS will have success in the marketplace. I remember reading an article just after windows phone 7 was released stating "...we will buy the marketplace"
  • HTC should look to be bought out by someone. With Nokia, soon to be Microsoft, dominating the WP market and Samsung dominating the Android market, HTC is in Limbo.
  • Yep. I agree.
  • While it's good for Nokia, stopping any Windows Phone from getting into US users hands is not good for marketshare. Hopefully they work something out fast.
  • It said a ban on HTC Android phones not Windows phones.
  • I'm pretty sure this only affects devices that run Android, like the Htc One.
  • Please read, the article clearly states, "Its Android Devices". This may make HTC focus more on its Windows Phone offerings and make the WP equivalent of the "One". this could help boost WP marketshare : )
    I hate to see HTC go throught this, but maybe this will make them along with others realize they should put equal specs, advertising, etc behind all the products they offer and not put all their eggs in on basket so to speak.
  • I would expect that a WP8 license would probably also include the patent licensing fees for those particular devices.
  • This where Android completely falls a part. Its such a mess when it comes to IP. OEMs must wonder with all these court fees and licensing fees, is it really still worth selling Android devices?
  • What? I like both nokias and htcs but banning HTC from the US will suck. They always make good looking phones and to see them gone sucks.
  • Or they will pay the fees. Considering the size of the market and the base functionality the patents represent. HTC would be stupid to concede to a ban.
  • Bye bye HTC lol
  • Nokia please sue either Samsung, Google or motorola please!
  • That would be great!
  • I think Nokia will do that once the devices is taken over by MS. no body else can couter sue. I think thats why they have not sued Samsung yet.
  •    Damn. Talk about kicking someone when they're down. HTC makes good devices but can't seem to catch a break. I'm looking forward to their WP8 based on the HTC One design so that I can compare them to the upcoming Lumias.
  • When the 1520 meets the WP8 One... :) clash of giants, figuratively and literally.
  • Nokia is just a pain, good to see them out of business. Clearly Nokia is asking too much money for the patents and HTC is just fighting against that. Just a couple more month and I will never again have to look at a Chinese made Nokia junkphone.
  • Oh yeah, because HTC phones are made in America. HTC needs to pay and shut up. Everybody needs to pay Nokia and SHUT UP. And everybody needs to pay Microsoft too. Plain and simple.
  • Even though I know this is a really terrible attempt at trolling, please look up what a patent is and what it stands for.
  • How did you come to the conclusion that Nokia is asking too much for their patents? Are you in a position where you can evaluate tech patents for their worth?