Nokia unlikely to win German patent case against HTC, ViewSonic

Nokia's hopes of taking HTC to task over SMS patents look to be fading after a preliminary hearing verdict was handed down this week.

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Nokia's German patent suits against smartphone rival HTC are proceeding with mixed results, with the Finnish company unlikely to secure a win on an SMS file management infringement claim.

A regional court in Germany is expected not to find that HTC and ViewSonic infringed on an SMS patent held by Nokia when it rules on the dispute in two months' time.

Judge Andreas Mueller in the Munich I Regional Court this week given his preliminary view that the SQLite database in HTC and ViewSonic's Android-devices that store SMS do not infringe on Nokia patent EP0982959 for a SMS file management system that once featured in its 9000 Communicator, according to FOSS Patents blogger Florian Mueller.

Although Nokia contested its file system is functionally the same as the SQLite database, Judge Mueller viewed it differently, Mueller said.

The patent is one of the original lot of patents that Nokia said it would assert against HTC, BlackBerry and ViewSonic last year. BlackBerry settled last year with a one off €50m payment to Nokia, while HTC and ViewSonic opted to fight the claims. 

In March Nokia lost a German suit aimed at Google Play in HTC devices, and the Taiwanese maker promised to press ahead with action to have Nokia's patent invalidated in the UK and Germany. The same month Nokia won a German sales ban on some HTC devices using a power savings patent. 

Last week Nokia filed two new complaints in the US covering nine patents, which included a second complaint with the International Trade Commission , in which it's seeking to have HTC's One banned in the US.

A hearing for the original ITC complaint that Nokia filed against HTC, which includes a Nokia patent covering tethering and will see Google getting involved, is occurring today, Mueller notes.