HTC’s next flagship smartphone is set to be unveiled in February next year and go on sale in March, a judge revealed in a court case in the UK yesterday. The timeframe for the successor to the HTC One was unveiled because Nokia believes the device contains a chipset that Nokia holds the patent for.
“HTC will shortly be launching a new flagship phone which cannot be assumed to infringe and therefore be caught by the injunction,” ruled Judge Richard Arnold. He went on to say that the new HTC phone will be launched at a critical time in February or March 2014. Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest smartphone trade show, takes place in February.
Nokia is suing HTC for allegedly infringing one of its patents in the design of the HTC One Mini, a smaller version of the multi-awardwinning HTC One phone. If Nokia can prove that the new HTC handset’s design also infringes its patent, it may be able to block it from sale. There have been several leaks of the HTC M8’s design (M8 is the codename being used for the new handset) over the past few weeks, and these may have led Nokia to conclude that the new handset’s design will also use the disputed chipset.
So far, Nokia has succeeded in getting the HTC One Mini banned from sale in the UK. Unless HTC appeals, it will stop being sold in the UK from this Friday, 6 December, reports Bloomberg. However, HTC can continue to sell the HTC One in the UK until the outcome of its appeal against the HTC One Mini ruling. At that stage, the ban will either be lifted or all HTC phones containing the patent-infringing chipset will be removed from sale.
HTC is currently allowed to continue selling the One because Judge Arnold believes banning its flagship phone from sale during the critical pre-Christmas sales period before a final judgment is made would unfairly damage its business.
Nokia’s goal in getting the HTC One Mini banned from sale is almost certainly more about getting the HTC One banned. The HTC One has won many accolades, picking up several awards for the best smartphone of 2013, so a ban on its UK sale would be a coup for Nokia.