Nokia, RIM and LG are probably feeling a bit foolish today after hearing that the US International Trade Commission ruled in HTC’s favor in the FlashPoint camera patent case. FlashPoint (a former Apple subsidiary) filed suit against HTC, LG, Nokia and RIM in July of 2010, claiming that the four companies were infringing on its intellectual property patents relating to digital cameras. LG, RIM and Nokia were hit with two separate patent disputes (patents 769 and 606) and chose to settle the case out of court in order to prevent a possible handset ban in the US market.
HTC decided to stick things out and fight the single 769 patent dispute claim and has been rewarded with a victory in the case. Yesterday’s ruling by the ITC states that HTC’s products do not infringe on FlashPoint’s patents.
The Commission has determined to affirm the judge’s determination of no violation of Section 337 with respect to the ’769 patent on the bases that (1) the accused HTC Android smartphones and the accused HTC Windows Phone 7 (WP7) smartphones do not infringe the ’769 patent, and (2) respondent has established that it has an implied license to practice the ’769 patent with respect to the accused WP7 smartphones, James HolbeinSecretary to the Commission - ITC
A patent victory for HTC means US consumers will continue to have a wide selection of Android phones at their disposal that are not taxed with unnecessary licensing fees. We don’t know how LG, RIM and Nokia will react to this news, but we hope they go back to the negotiation table with FlashPoint to restructure the settlement or licensing fees they agreed upon earlier this year.