Nokia bans all HTC Android-based devices in Germany over the use of Android Beam

Nokia vs HTC

HTC’s string of bad luck continues, this time in in Germany where Judge Dr. Matthias Zigann has just granted Nokia a permanent sales injunction against their rival’s handsets, effectively banning the sale of all Android-based devices made by the Taiwanese manufacturer.

Of course, all of this had to do with patents — patents like EP1148681 which deals with peer-to-peer sharing via NFC over a Bluetooth connection (but not WiFi). You know, just a little feature baked into the core Android OS. Because this isn’t considered a standard-essential patent, Nokia doesn’t have to license it under FRAND terms.

HTC Android Beam

HTC is currently being sued by Nokia in 7 different countries including Germany, the US, UK, France, Italy, Netherlands, and Japan. HTC is likely to appeal the decision while Google makes an attempt at invalidating the patent. In the meantime, we expect some sort of over-the-air update to sidestep Nokia’s patent, a move HTC is all too familiar with. Yay, for software patents. (Sarcasm).

[FOSS Patents | via Engadget]

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TAGS: HTC vs Nokia , Nokia vs HTC , patent lawsuit , patent wars , patents

  • frhow


    • Michael Clanton

      or the price of business.

  • rnb_001

    If HTC is banned from selling his products in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Holland & Japan, how will they sell the HTC One 2? Hope the bad luck will go away…

    • Michael Clanton

      simple, do what most have done….get into a licensing agreement and carry on.

      • WickedToby741

        You make the assumption that HTC hasn’t tried. I doubt that’s the case. And no, it’s not simple.

      • 萨夫 侯赛因

        You do realize that they’ve already been forced into a licensing agreement with Microsoft.. Heck.. Microsoft actually earns more from Android than it does from Windows Mobile.

      • rnb_001

        Well, I hope it works :-)

    • mcl630

      They have options get future devices on the market:

      1) Get the patent invalidated (both HTC and Google are trying to do just that)
      2) Leave Android Beam out of new devices
      3) Enter into a licensing agreement with Nokia

  • worldclassflame

    Nokia fukc you …sincerely.. The rest of the mobile world

    • Michael Clanton

      its business, google has tried the same thing…there patents are just weak. Dont say F one company unless you hold your bias down and say the same about android oems and google themself

      • Joshua Hill

        Do you have evidence to suggest the OP has double standards or are you just wasting your time assuming his stance would change if an Android OEM was the plaintiff.

      • JFK06

        Come Michael, when did Google initiate a patent war or target any specific company? You make a lot of comments but never answer any questions about them?

      • Dean Politis

        As far as I have ever seen, the only part of Google that has initiated a patent claim is Motorola and those started before Google bought them.

  • Ryan Suos

    Because these manufactures want to keep making money, the consumers are left with products that are shy from perfect. I wonder if the phone of my dreams would exist if none of these patents existed.

    EDIT: Even if they banned HTC phone sales, I doubt more people would buy their Windows phone.

    • Michael Clanton

      its a public company, they have a duty to protect there i.p, just like google does.
      AND the patents are not about buying windows phone…dumb to even say that.
      Samsung is the only big winner in android so what saves HTC phones?

      • Ryan Suos

        All I’m saying it’s a lose for everyone and Nokia won’t profit off of this as well. It would have been a smarter idea to license it and make money of HTC sales instead of banning them.

  • Michael Clanton

    My problem with this bias thing is this…3rd injunction granted to Nokia in Germany, Nokia is def not known for patent bullying by any stretch of the imagination.
    Google and android OEM’s have tried this also, so the negative comments seem even more bias, if you dont like Nokia, MS, or Apple for doing what they are required by law..and that is maximizing profit and protecting there i.p, then cast the same words at Google.
    There is no credibility for any biased reporting, and this site seems to pick and chose what to report.
    at least report in a fair and educated way.

    • Doan

      They are not required by law to do this. There would be no ill effects, regarding law, had they simply done nothing.

      • Patrick Smithopolis

        I think companies are required by law to do what’s in the best interest of their share holders but this move may actually hurt Nokia and its shareholders in the long run.

        • WickedToby741

          What would be in the best interest of the shareholders would be to license the patents, especially now that HTC won’t even be a direct competitor with Nokia selling it’s phone business to Microsoft.

        • CaffinatedOne

          If the management is poor enough, the shareholders can vote to replace the company’s board, but otherwise a company’s management is largely free to do what they wish. Nokia management isn’t being forced to do anything here; since they can’t compete in actually making and selling phones, they’ll try to damage their competitors through other means (and perhaps make a few bucks by forcing them to pay licensing).

          The root problem is terrible patent laws around software. There’s no way that “NFC initiated bluetooth data transfers” should be patent-able. It’s an obvious and direct use of the technologies in question.

    • WickedToby741

      Motorola is the only Android OEM that I know of to strike offensively with a patent lawsuit (I believe it was against Microsoft over Xbox radio tech), and that was prior to Google ownership. Other than that, all other patent cases involving Google and Android OEM’s has been in defense to counter the accusations of other companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, and others.

      To my knowledge, Google has never been the first to strike in a patent fight and they are an advocate of patent reform. You can hardly classify Google in the same category as the others.

    • 萨夫 侯赛因

      You’re forgetting that most of whatever Google ends up inventing usually ends up as open source.

      • whatsa2

        What waffle … Google locks all other android apps users out of google play
        Has done a very effective job keeping WP users from using services.
        Basically they are a closed ecosystem that happens to use a open source OS.
        So they may play nicer with apple the rest is a closed book.

        • 萨夫 侯赛因

          They haven’t locked off services.. I can access gmail on my lumia? Or are you referring to the YouTube fiasco which which kicked off with Microsoft? If so as far as I’m aware Google gave Microsoft their blessing to develop a Windows Mobile YouTube app themselves?

          • whatsa2

            As far as i know they are still making them develop the app
            in a way that they don’t and apple doesnt… .and guess what its not
            possible as they cannot do it either. ( dont own a WP by the way)
            Also, it they were truely open the app store could be used by lots of platforms. I really dont get why they did that.
            They wanted the control yet open? but they make their money on ads and hits? The whole thing is a mess in my opinion and google has ended with two un-complementary directions.

          • 萨夫 侯赛因

            Not that I mean any disrespect to yourself but that viewpoint hardly matters.. As a business they are thriving yet have never antagonized the competition with patent suits.. If anything for all of us competition in the mobile industry can only drive mobile computing forward – for ALL and that’s totally an awesome thing!

          • Karnn

            This article explains how andriod is slowly being made proprietary by google:
            The idea is open source is great for initial popularity, but if you want to protect your investment, it’s not a good idea as google seems to have realized.

          • 萨夫 侯赛因

            Another point, no company is under any obligation to develop software for another. Instead of keeping YouTube, GmailGmail, G+ exclusive to its Android arm they have let others use the service! If Microsoft wants an app they’ve even given them their blessing to go and create it themselves!

          • whatsa2

            Yes and No….
            behind the scenes Google lets everyone else do native apps
            yet force WP to do html5. With Apples problems with safari and html5 I doubt they could do one either yet they are allowed to do a native app and WPs’ native app is blocked!

            So its not as open and fair across the board as the headlines profess.
            Googles open-ness well its a bit of a myth at times.

  • Patrick Smithopolis

    Nokia is in the same boat as Apple with me. I won’t buy a product from either company.

    • Karnn

      But if there were no patents there would be no incentive to innovation. And most ideas might seem worthless or silly in retrospect, but each one has its own merit even if only as an enabler in making people think in a different way.

  • Joshua Hill

    I’m confused, if it’s ‘baked into the core Android OS’ how come only HTC are being sued?

    • Patrick Smithopolis

      Easy target.

      • Joshua Hill

        I suspect there is a little more to it than that. There are other easy targets within the Android ecosystem.

        My guess is:

        1) It’s not actually baked into Android but only HTC’s implementation of it; or

        2) HTC’s the only OEM that actually uses this functionality or if other OEM’s do they use their own code which doesn’t infringe Nokia’s patent.

        Anybody know exactly what’s going on? I’m still confused, maybe the author could clarify.

        • Patrick Smithopolis

          I just read an article that says Samsung devices don’t use Bluetooth to transfer files. When you connect Samsung devices using NFC it transfers a file using WiFi direct which is much quicker.

          • Joshua Hill

            I did a quick Google after your last comment and mine. Apart from using android beam to transfer files between Nokia devices and android devices, the HTC patent case and Samsung’s Wi-Fi use I found no other info, very unlike the internet :(

          • Chad Vincent

            Samsung falls back to Bluetooth if both phones don’t support S-Beam. Only Samsung-to-Samsung uses WiFi Direct.

        • JRomeo

          you’re kidding right? Android beam has been baked into stock android since Nexus S or Galaxy Nexus times.

          • Joshua Hill

            No, I tried to make it perfectly clear in my numerous posts that I was confused by the situation. Based on other comments here I’m not the only one. Thanks for nothing.

    • whatsa2

      Eerr their the one not paying to use non SEP.

      • Joshua Hill

        Thanks, so other OEM’s like Samsung are actually paying Nokia for the patent even though it’s not FRAND and Google baked it into the android OS?

        • whatsa2

          Yes … Samsung have a SEP and non- SEP licensing agreement.
          ( some others too)
          Just like….
          Qualcomm bake in tons of sep non-sep stuff
          and in all cases you need a license to use the features of the chip
          you get a generic chip and leverage what you need and license the bits implemented.

          That way its cheaper for everyone and bulk chips.
          the chip has lots of functionality so you just use the bits you need.

    • raitchison

      Google doesn’t actually make products (hardware). Well they do through Motorola but there is an arms length separation there.

      Samsung uses a different method (WiFi) not covered by this patent.

      I don’t know what Motorola and LG does but there could be other factors in play, plus those are smaller fish than HTC.

  • Kyle

    Because there are alot of people who solely use nokia products based on their NFC file sharing capabilities.

    • JFK06


  • TechSwagg

    I must admit that I first heard about/used android beam with my Galaxy Nexus. I used it maybe twice and I have never used it on my Note3.

    • Patrick Smithopolis

      I think the Galaxy Nexus and the Note 3 use Wi-Fi direct. I don’t know if they also use Bluetooth.

      • Dragonscourgex

        If I recall correctly, Samsung uses NFC/WiFi Direct for there phones. This is called S Beam. I think this only work with other Samsung phones. Samsung also provide Android Beam on their phones, this work with any other Android device that has NFC on it.

        • mgamerz

          Yep. And oh boy, is wifi direct a pos on android. I’m not sure if samsung fixes it in their own android builds, cause I can’t imagine they could get it work reliably with the stock software. (i tried making a wifi direct app, its just so broken)

    • cbstryker

      I use NFC literally every day.

  • Dragonscourgex

    I need some clarification on this. I went do a little reading up on NFC, this only made me a little confused as how Nokia has a patent for P2P sharing using NFC and was able to sue using it.
    From what I have read, NFC was based off of RFID, with the first patent being awarded to Charles Walton in 1983. The invention of the current NFC tech is credited to Sony and Philip Semiconductor in 2002. Nokia didn’t come into the picture until 2004 when the 3 companies worked together to create the NFC Forum to help pairing, sharing, and transaction. It also set out develops and certifies that NFC enabled Devices are in compliance with NFC standard.
    In 2006 Nokia 6131 was the first NFC phone, but again..they were using a standard developed the NFC form, not their own personal tech. In 2009, the NFC Forum released a standard for P2P sharing and initiate Bluetooth, which I am sure what Android beams uses.
    In 2010 Samsung released the first Android phone with NFC, the Nexus S. Which is more Google phone than Samsung’s. Symbian, which if I recall correctly is Nokia old OS, didn’t get NFC support until 2011 in the release of Symbian Anna, a whole year after Android introduced support.
    Now, my confusing is, if Android has already been certified with the NFC Forum, and HTC NFC features are those used by Android, how can Nokia sue only HTC and what right do they actually have to sue them if they are using an OS that was already certified to use the NFC tech?

    • MrSix

      I guess android being certified by NFC Forum doesn’t cover it because the method of NFC’s use(initiating sharing over bluetooth via NFC) is what’s patented by nokia in this case, not NFC itself…?
      Also having read some of the other comments, it seems like other OEMs are already paying Nokia to use this.
      One of the silliest things about patents is that they don’t take first use into account. You can roll out a product using technology no one’s heard of before, and then be sued by someone for using it because they patented it, even if they’ve never actually used it.

  • CerealFTW

    I hate how they come after HTC because they don’t have to balls to mess with Samsung or Google. smh, this is an android feature, not HTC exclusive

    • whatsa2

      Samsung ZTE and others
      All have SEP and non -sep licenses with Nokia.
      What other android makers pay to add the features HTC just takes.
      This is not the only one… its seven continents and different patents too.
      Samsung pay for it and I dont hear them sqealing.
      here is a bit of info…

      “Nokia began its actions against HTC in 2012, with the aim of ending
      HTC’s unauthorised use of Nokia’s proprietary innovations and has
      asserted more than 50 patents against HTC in France, Germany, Italy,
      Japan, the Netherlands, UK and US. During 2013, HTC has been found to
      infringe Nokia patents in venues including the Regional Court in
      Mannheim, Germany, the UK High Court and the US International Trade

      The other android guys can do this why not HTC?

      • Aaron Davis

        The other guys shouldn’t have to pay. They just folded under the threat of legal action. Google should be able to pay a licensing fee for core OS features and have it cover all OEMs that use android.

        Suing each OEM individually is just a ploy to maximize licensing fees.

        • whatsa2

          Yeah there are lots of ways this could be done…
          ( a ploy? I doubt it as google dont charge and the OEMs do then
          the only logical place to charge a % is with the OEM)

          But in fairness most of the others have a SEP license
          and some already have a non-sep too.
          Google / MM are in discussions with nokia to review their cross-licensing too.
          So all I see is one manufacturer not negotiating this

          Apple were going to lose the case in 2011 so that forced them to do the cross license and this is the same.

          I know everyone says google should do this for them but then its no longer free and would be impossible to do now unless google wishes to incur all the licensing costs.

          Thats what people forget there is no free ride just different ways of paying.

    • whatsa2

      Oh and another thing Google /MM are in talks with Nokia to sort out their licensing issues so
      all I see is nearly everyone else sorting this out proactively

      Samsung zte and others already have

      its just HTC?

  • Jman38

    Hate to point out the obvious here, but Microsoft bought Nokia. Our did I miss something?

    • alfonzso

      MS didn’t buy Nokia. MS is in the process of buying Nokia’s devices division….you know, the part of Nokia that is taking huge losses. Nokia is keeping the cake to themselves.

  • Just_Some_Nobody

    Bluetooth was developed for transmitting data between devices. How can someone patent a superset of that?
    I’m clearly stupid when it comes to patents, but this just really makes no sense.

    • Alan_Peery

      It’s wrong to say you’re “stupid about patents”, when the appropriate phase is “Patents are often stupid”. :-)

      Prior art is clearly being missed when these patents awarded.

    • alfonzso

      Shoes were created to walk on….but are they leather, wood, or rubber?

      • Aaron Davis

        Oddly enough, you can’t patent clothing, you can only trademark the brand. Anyone is free to make and sell clothing that looks identical to yours, as long as it doesn’t include your brand or logo.

        You can patent a method of making rubber for shoes, but you can’t patent the idea of making shoes out of rubber

  • Jason Farrell

    Banned… over a gimmicky feature almost NO ONE even uses. I’ve used it a sum total of maybe five times (to “kiss” a photo) in the last 2 years, just to show it off to people who didn’t know there phone could do parlor tricks.

    • alfonzso

      Judges should not consider user rates when making decisions. And considering “no one” uses it other than in the Samsung ads, HTC should have no problem coming up with a fix.

  • 萨夫 侯赛因

    Nokia is trying to convince itself as well as others that its still relevant in the Smartphone business.

    • whatsa2

      What does NSN do?

    • Torres

      Nokia could go Android.

      With wp8 they died. Now is nokia microsoft

  • InspectorGadget80


  • DDroid45

    All these dam patent wars is keeping a lot of OEMs from reaching there full potential because they so busy looking for work arounds for features , this goes for all platforms and they’re dam patents

    • alfonzso

      I agree it’s a major distraction…..but I don’t want to speculate what the automotive or pharma industries would have looked like without patents.

      • Aaron Davis

        It would have looked like a cheap bottle of aspirin, which is exactly what the world got after Bayer was stripped of all of it’s patents after WWII (punishment for helping the Nazis)

  • Torres

    FCK NOKIA/M$ MS you are the biggest troll

  • Dean Politis

    Nokia, this smells of desperation. Nokia once dominated the cell phone market and now they are just a blip. They made the mistake of going Windows Phone and now they are just trying to recuperate their losses before they become a Microsoft subsidiary.

    • alfonzso

      Most people who invent something would like to get paid for it. Nokia used to be great innovators and I have no problem with them protecting their innovations. Btw, Nokia is not becoming a MS subsidiary….they are only selling their devices division….Nokia will keep their patents.

      • Dean Politis

        The real question is did they really invent something. They didn’t invent neither NFC nor Bluetooth. The fact that WiFi is not covered by this patent makes me question whether they invented anything at all.

        Isn’t the device division the lion’s share of Nokia?

        • alfonzso

          That is a valid question. To me, the layman, it appears that their invention is to use NFC and Bluetooth to beam data in a specific manner.

          Nokia does other things that are more profitable than their devices: ….a smart move to sell a sinking ship to a drowning sailor. ;-)

      • Jman38

        Good point, @alfonzso. At the same time, they had a “partnership” even prior to that, which would indicate shared strategies, including the execution of patent extortion, which MS is pretty well known to do. I have no problem with companies protecting IP, assuming they offer fair access through reasonable licensing and their patents are valid. In this case, both seem questionable.

      • Stone Cold

        That is correct

  • antifud

    How many times do I have to tell you? FOSSNEWS is funded by Microsoft and Nokia. They post doom and gloom for all google and android products because it is their competitors.

    They are not a qualified website for anything.


    They are a smear campaign, not an actual fact based reporting website.

  • antifud

    oh wow, have much #microsoft #bias, chavez?

    I love how fast my post was deleted showing that fosspatents is incredibly biased.


  • robbo

    I’ve had 7 androids 3 with NFC. Only once did I ever touch backs to another NFC phone to send youtube video. Guess why I did it? Because I could. Neither one of us actually watched the video. It’s still easier to send through sms or email or Facebook etc etc.

    • DYNK

      Sharing photos or mp3 its a great way. Facebook etc has to have a mobile signal 3g/wifi

  • Vaibhav Gupta

    Why only HTC if it’s “baked into Android OS”. Is it a strategy to drive HTC to gloom considering they already making losses? This helps Android OEMs more than Nokia to be honest. Samsung would love for HTC to go bankrupt or near it and then buy it for 1/8 th of its reported marketing spend last year and release the Samsung Galaxy One … :) just a thought

    • Aaron Davis

      This approach has been used before. The basic idea is to sue all the Android-using OEMs seperately for the same OS feature, and avoid actually suing Google itself until the very end, in order to maximize settlement money or patent licensing fees.

  • Steve Withers

    New Zealand legislated to not recognise software patents. Just one more way that small country leads the world when it comes to common sense and what’s best for everyone.

  • master94

    If I was htc I would cancel all windows phone until MS got Nokia to back down