HTC stops selling phones in the UK due to patent dispute
Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC isn’t dead, although it may as well be in the UK. Due to a patent dispute with Munich-based research and development company Ipcom, the company has pulled its smartphones from the UK market. The patent specifically pertains to car phones, which HTC agreed in 2012 to sell their phones in the UK with a workaround. However, Ipcom confirmed via testing that HTC did not implement the workaround, and instead continued to violate the patent. Ipcom said HTC had failed to “play by the rules” and had displayed “disregard for the law by contravening a UK court ruling”.
HTC’s official response was rather candid. In a statement given to the BBC, a spokeswoman for the company said that “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.” The company has stopped selling all of its phones in the UK on its website, even though devices are available to purchase in other European countries. In the UK, Carphone Warehouse, O2, and EE have already stopped selling its phones. The only places to buy HTC smartphones at the moment in the UK is via Amazon, who are still selling the company’s phones for now. HTC’s VR headsets and 5G router are still being sold.
HTC has continued to hemorrhage money each year, with the company renewing its focus entirely for 2019. HTC has released some odd devices in recent times though, including a blockchain-powered Exodus 1 which apparently sold out within a month of its release. The company has struggled to get a foothold in the UK market, and this may be its final death blow. Xiaomi was accused in the UK of a similar violation way back in February of this year by Ipcom, though that dispute is still ongoing.