HTC gets injunction against German patent firm

HTC has won a temporary injunction against the German patent licensing firm IPCom, forcing it to stop threatening retailers with legal action for stocking HTC's 3G-capable products.The Taiwanese manufacturer said on Friday that IPCom's threats were "unjustified".

HTC has won a temporary injunction against the German patent licensing firm IPCom, forcing it to stop threatening retailers with legal action for stocking HTC's 3G-capable products.

The Taiwanese manufacturer said on Friday that IPCom's threats were "unjustified". The patent licensing firm had sent letters to around a hundred retailers in Germany, claiming that they faced legal action for stocking HTC's smartphones and tablets due to an alleged patent infringement in those products.

"Today, the District Court of Dusseldorf granted HTC a preliminary injunction prohibiting the German licensing company, IPCom, from sending misleading warning letters threatening legal action against German retailers of HTC products," HTC said. "HTC reiterates its position that IPCom's threats are unjustified and that it will not hesitate to take legal action in order to defend its customers' interests."

In November, HTC dropped an appeal against a three-year-old judgement that went in favour of IPCom, which was asserting patents it had picked up in a Bosch portfolio in 2007.

IPCom claimed victory and said it would start enforcing the judgement by seeking a sales ban on HTC's 3G-capable products. However, HTC said it had dropped the appeal as a legal tactic and had outmanoeuvred IPCom. The manufacturer also said its current products worked around the patent in question.

This month, the patent licensing firm began sending letters to retailers, although the patent it quoted as being infringed was not exactly the same patent that the judge said HTC had been infringing. Therefore, IPCom was telling retailers to stop stocking the products, without a court order specifically allowing it to do so.

ZDNet UK has asked IPCom for comment on HTC's new injunction, and also for an indication as to whether any retailers had agreed to stop stocking HTC's 3G-capable products as a result of IPCom's letters, but has received no reply at the time of writing.