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HTC One not banned in Europe, despite preliminary injunction verdict won by Nokia

The HTC One is facing more delays in Europe following a preliminary injunction against the product won by Nokia in The Netherlands.
April 24, 2013

The HTC One is not facing more delays in Europe even though a Dutch court sided with Nokia issuing a preliminary injunction against the device. The two companies are engaged in a complex patent-based legal battle, with Nokia suing HTC in various other markets including USA, UK and Germany.

The Dutch court’s ruling was based on the high-amplitude microphones that were included inside the HTC One. Nokia’s argument is that the “microphones components [were] invented by and manufactured exclusively for Nokia.” The Nokia Lumia 720, which was announced at MWC back in February, apparently uses that particular technology.

Initially, the ruling seemed a bit harsh on HTC, which doesn’t appear to be at fault for the incident. Instead, it looks like microprocessor firm ST Microelectronics may have breached its NDA with Nokia and supplied HTC with an identical component.

HTC has expressed its disappointment on the ruling, vowing to solve the issues as soon as possible. In a statement, the company’s lawyers said:

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.

But it turned out that the HTC One will not be banned in the region, or at least not any of the existing units. While the court awarded an injunction to Nokia, it also acknowledged the fact that ST Microelectronics is responsible for the blunder. The company apparently believed that it was supposed to be an exclusive provider of dual-membrane microphones for only six months, when in fact it should have been an exclusive partner for 12 months.

Nokia 720 vs HTC One microphone debate


ST Microelectronics now has to provide Nokia with the parts for an additional six months, during which time it can’t also supply the same component to HTC or any other client.

What does that mean for European HTC One units? Well, the already selling devices won’t be banned, as HTC can’t be blamed for what happened between the other two companies. But the Taiwanese Android device maker needs to find a different provider of parts for its microphone for the period of time in which ST Microelectronics will be committed only to Nokia when it comes to dual-membrane mics.

All in all, it’s mostly good news to HTC, as the preliminary injunction could have been yet another setback for HTC, currently in the middle of the HTC One launch, which is already taking place later than initially announced.

Andrew Roach contributed to this report.