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Nokia and HTC bury hatchet in patent disputes

Nokia and HTC bury hatchet in patent disputes

The two have been battling since 2012 and several HTC phones have been banned from sale in Europe

Nokia and HTC have settled their long-running patent infringement battles, which played out in several countries and have seen a handful of HTC phones banned from sale in Europe.

The two companies, both major players in the smartphone industry, said they have agreed on a "patent and technology collaboration" that will settle all outstanding litigation.

Precise details were not revealed, but the companies said HTC will pay Nokia an undisclosed sum and the collaboration will involve HTC's patents on LTE technology. LTE, often called 4G, is a high-speed wireless data transmission technology being rolled out by carriers in many countries.

Nokia's chief intellectual property officer, Paul Melin, hailed the agreement as validating Nokia's patents while HTC's general counsel, Grace Lei, said her company was "pleased to come to this agreement."

Nokia had asserted since 2012 that HTC infringed on about 50 of its patents and engaged in unauthorized use of proprietary innovations.

The cases had been making their way through the courts in countries including the U.K., Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S.

In March 2013, Nokia won an injunction in Germany against some HTC smartphones that were found to infringe upon a power-saving technology.

In September, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled HTC infringed two patents held by Nokia related to cellphones and tablets, and in October the High Court of England and Wales ruled that some HTC devices infringed on a Nokia mobile network standard patent.

Nokia won a sales ban against the HTC One Mini smartphone in the U.K. as a result of that latter judgment.

Patent battles between major smartphone manufacturers have become a common part of the industry in the years since Apple introduced the iPhone and sparked the smartphone boom. Faced with a highly competitive marketplace, companies have been suing each other when one considers a competitor's products look too similar to their own.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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