By Harriet Torry and Sven Grundberg
The European Patent Office Wednesday revoked a patent held by IPCom GmbH & Co., cancelling an earlier court ruling that could have stopped sales of Nokia and HTC products in Germany.
European Patent Office spokesman Rainer Osterwalder told Dow Jones Newswires the EPO revoked the patent in its entirety. The patentee now has three months to file an appeal, he added.
The review of the patent was brought by Nokia, Deutsche Telekom AG (>> Deutsche Telekom AG), Ericsson (ERIC), HTC and Vodafone Group PLC (>> Vodafone Group plc), according to Osterwalder.
The decision comes after a German court in Dusseldorf on Tuesday banned Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone from selling Nokia and HTC phones that infringed on the patent, which concerns access to a mobile station in a Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, or UMTS, mobile network.
Both Nokia and HTC, who have been engaged in lengthy disputes with IPCom over its patent portfolio, welcomed Wednesday's decision. Paul Melin, head intellectual property at Nokia, said the decision means sales of Nokia products in Germany won't be stopped.
"We are pleased that the European Patent Office has confirmed that this IPCom patent is invalid," he said, adding that IPCom "needs to recognize its position and end its unrealistic demands for what remains of this significantly diminished portfolio."
IPcom, however, said it will appeal the ruling.
"Although today's decision is not in favour of IPCom, our patent portfolio is continually growing. Due to new patents and divisionals granted, the number of patents increased from 620 in 2007 to 895 patents at the end of 2011," IPCom said in a statement.
The patents held by IPCom were originally developed by the closely held German auto-parts supplier Robert Bosch GmbH for its mobile car telephone systems. Bosch sold the patents to IPCom in 2007.
-By Harriet Torry and Sven Grundberg, Dow Jones Newswires; +49 69 29725 511; [email protected]