IPCom fails to stop sales of Nokia's phones in the UK

The U.K. High Court sides with Nokia that essential patents shouldn't be used to seek injunctions, according to the phone maker

The U.K. High Court has dismissed IPCom's attempts to obtain an injunction against the sales of Nokia's 3G phones.

The court confirmed that IPCom must abide by its commitments to the European Commission and not seek injunctions regarding standard-essential patents against companies such as Nokia, who are who are prepared to take licences on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, the Finnish phone maker said in a statement.

A hearing on the matter took place on May 18 and a verbal ruling was handed down, according to a Nokia spokesman.

The decision came following the U.K. Court of Appeal's dismissal of Nokia's attempt to overturn a ruling that it infringed on IPCom's EP 1 841 268 (#100a) patent.

The ruling was first reported by Florian Mueller in the FOSS Patents blog.

Like so many patent cases, this one has been going on for a long time.

The Court of Appeal upheld the U.K. High Court's ruling from June 16, 2011, that the patent in question was not valid as granted, but was valid with amendments and that older versions of Nokia software may infringe, according to Nokia. However, later versions of Nokia's software, used in current products, do not infringe, it said.

The #100a patent is related to how access channels are assigned to users in 3G networks. It allows, for example, emergency services to be given priority access, according to IPCom.

In another win for Nokia, the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich revoked the patent in April.

Nokia doesn't want to comment on its future legal plans, but because the patent has been deemed invalid by the EPO ultimately the U.K. patent will be revoked, as well, according to a spokesman.

IPCom didn't reply to questions about the latest developments. The company has said, however, that Nokia still has the opportunity to open good faith discussions with IPCom on paying a license fee for the use of its intellectual property.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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Mikael Ricknäs

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