In a surprise move, HTC has withdrawn its objection to a preliminary objection granted to patent holding firm IPCom during a lawsuit in 2009 just days before the appeal was headed to trial. As a result, German courts have ruled that IPCom may now seek an immediate injunction on all HTC products, leading to speculation that a settlement will be forthcoming shortly.
According to legal analysts, the move appears to be an end-run by HTC to prevent IPCom from getting rulings on two additional patents that were introduced during the appeals process. By withdrawing their appeal, the new patents are also dropped and IPCom would have to start a new lawsuit from scratch to assert them.
The remaining patent is essential to the 3G standard, so if HTC offers a reasonable royalty payment IPCom will be bound by FRAND agreements to accept the offer and relinquish any claim to an injunction. Given the importance of the holiday shopping season, it appears that such an offer from must be imminent.
The ruling is being portrayed as a win for IPCom, who will now be able to use the threat of an injunction to get royalty payments from HTC in the very near future, but it’s worth noting that the move greatly reduces the amount of exposure HTC would have suffered from a loss on all three patents if they had continued with their appeal.
So here we get an inside peak into the seedy underbelly of IP lawsuits and the sort of maneuvering that goes on to minimize losses; HTC was willing to lose the battle in order to get a better shot at winning the war.
source: IPCom via FOSS Patents