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HTC Corp v Nokia Corp [2013] EWHC 3247

Case Summary  |  Judgment  |  12 December 2013


Michael Tappin QC  recently appeared with Nicholas Saunders and Miles Copeland for Nokia, the successful patentee in a revocation and infringement action.

Nokia’s patent was for a modulator structure using a Gilbert cell in mobile telecommunications. HTC claimed that the patent was invalid for reasons of lack of novelty and for obviousness over two prior art patents. Nokia contended that HTC infringed the patent by use of the patented modulator structure in various of its mobile telephone products. HTC denied this, saying the modulator structure used in its products did not fall within the claims of Nokia’s patent.

HTC also raised a defence of licence. Nokia and Qualcomm had an agreement (the ‘Agreement’), which precluded Nokia from suing Qualcomm for patent infringement in given circumstances. HTC purchased chips for use in its phones from Qualcomm and claimed that the Agreement meant that Nokia had consented to its acts or that Nokia’s rights were exhausted.

Arnold J found the Patent valid and infringed. On the licence defence he held, applying SA des Manufactures de Glaces v Tighman’s Patent Sand Blast Co (1883) 25 Ch. D. 1, that HTC could not have acquired greater rights on purchasing chips from Qualcomm than Qualcomm had under the Agreement and that there was no consent to HTC’s acts under the Agreement, nor were Nokia’s rights exhausted.

Having lost at trial, HTC contended that there should be no injunction, but that Nokia should instead be restricted to damages in lieu of an injunction. Arnold J rejected that and granted an injunction (which has been stayed pending appeal) – see [2013] EWHC 3778 (Pat).