Nokia loses mobile patent case in Germany

The German patent licensing firm IPCom has won a mobile patent case against Nokia in that country, with the verdict echoing that of the UK High Court last year.The Mannheim regional court ruled on Friday that several Nokia phones would have infringed on the patent, which covers the allocation of access rights in a telecommunications channel.

The German patent licensing firm IPCom has won a mobile patent case against Nokia in that country, with the verdict echoing that of the UK High Court last year.

The Mannheim regional court ruled on Friday that several Nokia phones would have infringed on the patent, which covers the allocation of access rights in a telecommunications channel. However, the devices in question are no longer on sale, and IPCom would have to post a bond of €100m (£82m) to enforce it anyway.

The patent, numbered DE 199 10 239, is equivalent to the '268' patent that the High Court found Nokia to be infringing on last year. The courts in the UK and Germany had originally found the patent invalid, but IPCom tightened it up and refiled it successfully, eventually winning its cases.

"The Mannheim court found that Nokia's older phones would have infringed the patent. We respectfully disagree with this decision, but almost all of these phones predated the grant of the patent in February 2011 and our products today use different methods," Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant told ZDNet UK on Friday.

Durrant added that Nokia was conducting a generally successful campaign of lawsuits against IPCom, with courts finding several of IPCom's patents to be invalid. IPCom acquired a large patent portfolio from mobile technology pioneer Bosch in 2007.

Nokia believes that IPCom needs to recognise its position and end its unrealistic demands for what remains of this significantly diminished portfolio.

– Mark Durrant, Nokia

"So far, 61 IPCom patents have been found invalid as granted or conceded as invalid by IPCom," Durrant said. "Nokia believes that IPCom needs to recognise its position and end its unrealistic demands for what remains of this significantly diminished portfolio. Meanwhile, our invalidity actions against IPCom patents will continue."

Durrant said Nokia still wanted to know if its recent products, which apparently work around IPCom's patents, were infringing. Noting that the UK High Court had already established "that current Nokia products do not infringe patents in this family", he said Nokia had asked the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court for clarification on the Mannheim ruling.

ZDNet UK has asked IPCom for comment, but had received none at the time of writing.