HTC, Qualcomm scramble to rework HTC One chip design to avoid import ban
By Loek Essers
HTC and Qualcomm are reworking a radio chip for the HTC One smartphone in order to avoid a U.S. ban on imports of patent-infringing technology, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) made a preliminary ruling last week that Taiwan’s HTC had infringed on two Nokia patents. The infringed patents cover a method for receiving and transmitting radio signals, and a method for eliminating unwanted signals.
Because this preliminary ruling raises the chances of a ban on U.S. imports of infringing HTC products, HTC is working with chip manufacturer Qualcomm to alter the design of a component for its flagship One smartphone, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources. While only older HTC phones were listed in the case, HTC’s One and other new devices also use the same technology that could be banned by the ITC, the paper reported.
Neither HTC nor Qualcomm immediately responded to requests for comment.
“The HTC One contains the same component which was found in the ITC Initial Determination to have infringed Nokias US patent 7,415,247 and so we believe the HTC One would also be subject to any exclusion order ultimately imposed against infringing products,” said Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant in an email.
In addition to its complaint to the ITC, Nokia also filed a case against the HTC One in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in May.
In that case, Nokia accused the HTC One and several other smartphones of infringing three Nokia patents that deal with handset radio frequency identification technology for use with applications. Nokia is after damages and wants the court to put a stop to the alleged infringements.
Nokia started targeting HTC for patent infringement to end the allegedly unauthorized use of its proprietary innovations and technologies on May 2, 2012, when it announced the ITC case as well as another lawsuit against HTC in the U.S. District Court of Delaware. Besides litigation in the U.S., Nokia also filed lawsuits against HTC in German courts in Dusseldorf, Mannheim and Munich.
In total, Nokia asserted 50 patents against HTC in a number of actions in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Italy, Durrant said.
The ITC is expected to reach a full decision in late January 2014.