The Taiwanese tech firm has had its share of challenges competing with brands like Apple and Samsung. It has now been pulled off stores in the UK while it is involved in an intellectual property dispute.
HTC has been involved in a long-running intellectual dispute with IPCom, a research and development company over a communication system technology developed for car phones. The patent is related to controlling how UMTS mobile devices gain access to network. IPCom accused HTC of refusing to pay a licence to use its intellectual property, whereas HTC claimed that the patent claim was invalid.
A court in the UK in 2012 ruled that the Taiwanese firm had infringed IPCom’spatent100A. HTC agreed that it would not sell smartphones in the UK without using a workaround. However, IPCom uncovered that the suggested workaround was yet to be implemented by HTC after it tested a Desire 12 in its R&D lab.
IPCom has alleged that HTC didn’t meet the end of their bargain because it has failed to “play by the rules” and has a “disregard for the law by contravening a UK court ruling.”
While the dispute is ongoing, HTC’s website now lists all its phones as out of stock, although Amazon still has some models on sale. Stores like Carphone Warehouse, O2 and EE had stopped selling before now.
A spokeswoman from HTC defended the company position on the patent case. She said:
“As a leading innovator, HTC takes intellectual property issues very seriously. We are proactively investigating an infringement claim by a third party with respect to a single handset model.”
HTC was the first manufacturer to sell an Android phone in 2008 but since then, had struggled maintain a fair position in the industry with competitors like Samsung and Apple. A decade after, it sold a part of its smartphone segment to Google for $1.1b. It was a huge sign that the company was falling apart.
In 2018, the smartphone maker axed about a quarter of its global workforce. It was another indication that the once a major player in the smartphone market was struggling to keep afloat in an industry dominated by Apple and Samsung.