Struggling Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC has temporarily stopped selling phones via its online store in the UK over a patent dispute with IPCom, an R&D company based in Munich. HTC had apparently agreed to resolve the issue by agreeing to only sell models with a workaround in the UK. As per the BBC, however, IPCom has alleged that HTC did not implement any workaround and failed to “play by the rules.”
Responding to the allegations, an HTC spokeswoman said:
As a leading innovator, HTC takes intellectual property issues very seriously. We are proactively investigating an infringement claim by a third party with respect to a single handset model.
While Carphone Warehouse, O2, and EE had stopped selling HTC phones, you could pick them up from Amazon and HTC’s own online store. All HTC phones on the company’s online store are now listed as “out of stock”. Amazon, however, is still selling them in the UK. The only HTC product that continues to be widely available in the country is the 5G home hub router, which does not infringe any of IPCom’s patents.
HTC was found to have infringed IPCom’s patent 100A by a UK court in 2012. The patent is related to controlling how UMTS mobile devices gain initial access to a network. Even though HTC had agreed that it will not sell smartphones in the UK without using a workaround, IPCom discovered that the suggested workaround had not been implemented by HTC after it tested a Desire 12 in its R&D lab. The R&D company has also found Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 3 to be in infringement of the same patent, so it remains to be seen as to how this affects Xiaomi.