German court weighs if smartphone chips violate power-saving patent


HTC insists it has not violated Nokia power-saving patent.

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp. said Tuesday it hasn’t infringed a power-saving patent owned by Nokia Corp. because its own technology is powered by chips supplied from Qualcomm Inc.

HTC attorney Clemens Plassmann told the court that HTC doesn’t know what happens inside the Qualcomm chips. Nokia’s allegations “may be correct or not, we don’t know that,” said Mr. Plassmann

The lawsuit, part of a patent battle between several smartphone makers in courts around the globe, may have implications far beyond the current case involving HTC because many brands use Qualcomm’s chipsets in their mobile devices.

Nokia alleges that HTC infringed its EP0673175 patent, titled “reduction of power consumption in a mobile station.” The patented technology reduces the amount of data a device is downloading by analyzing only part of a message and checking if this message is already stored on the device, thus saving power.

HTC has asked Germany’s patent court in Munich to declare the patent invalid, arguing that the technology is similar to methods which have been patented by Motorola Mobility.

Although a ruling isn’t due until next month, presiding Judge Holger Kircher indicated that he may rule in Nokia’s favor, taking the view that the patent is being infringed.

Judge Kircher, however, said he isn’t likely to stay the case pending the patent court’s decision, and set March 19 for his decision. The Mannheim court has usually held only one hearing per case in the recent string of smartphone patent litigations.

The court Tuesday also held a hearing on a second lawsuit which Nokia filed against HTC. In that case, Nokia alleges HTC infringed its EP1474750 patent with an application that allows users to post their immediate locations on Facebook and Twitter. Judge Kircher indicated Nokia would not prevail in that case, saying “we can’t see any chance of success for this lawsuit.”