HTC faces a ban on sales of its smartphones in Germany after withdrawing an appeal against an injunction brought almost three years ago by local patents firm, IPCom.
According to a Reuters report, IPCom said on Friday it would enforce an injunction based on a Mannheim court decision from February 2009 after HTC cancelled an appeal that was due to be heard this week. "IPCom now intends to execute this injunction in the shortest possible time," the company said in a statement. "We will use the right awarded by the courts, likely resulting in HTC devices disappearing from shops during the crucial Christmas season."
It is potentially another major blow for the Taiwanese smartphone maker, which last week warned that revenue in Q4 – the key quarter for handset sales – could be as much as 20 percent lower than originally forecast. HTC’s stock has fallen 30 percent in eight straight trading days, says Reuters.
Analysts and lawyers said the withdrawal of HTC’s appeal – which it confirmed on Friday – gives it time to battle against two other patents which could have been decided upon this week, while it can still try to delay the original injunction.
"While HTC can try to oppose the enforcement of the injunction, my research shows that the odds are very long against HTC on this one," said German patent expert and blogger Florian Mueller.
IPCom has been a protagonist in Europe’s smartphone patents wars for some years, battling both HTC and Nokia in the courts. The firm holds Bosch's mobile phone patents portfolio, created between the mid-1980s and 2000, which includes about 160 patent families worldwide – some of which are deemed essential patents in mobile telephony.
Speaking to Reuters today, HTC’s CFO Winston Yung played down the crisis that has seemingly engulfed the company in recent days. "I don't think it's so serious. We have six quarters of improvement, the most conservative guidance is 45 million units of shipments this year, a lot higher than 25 million last year.”
He added: "We will focus on the product next year, better and more competitive. Other than new LTE phones for the US market, we also have phones for the global market. We will launch some worldwide flagship products. We're confident in them."