Update: ST Microelectronics to blame after courts grant Nokia a preliminary injunction against HTC One in Netherlands -
If the HTC One component shortage wasn’t enough to dampen the delayed launch of the device in Europe, a new preliminary injunction blocking the sale of the phone in Netherlands certainly will. The Amsterdam district court has granted Nokia’s request to block sales of the HTC One in the Netherlands due to the dual-membrane microphones used in HTC’s flagship phone.
According to a source familiar with the issue, ST Microelectronics was contracted to invent and manufacture the microphone technology and chip exclusively for Nokia. While the HTC One does appear to contain the same microphone chip used by Nokia in the Lumia 720, ST Microelectronics appears to be the party at fault in this situation since it sold the product to HTC.
“HTC is disappointed in the decision. We are considering whether it will have any impact on our business and we will explore alternative solutions immediately.” -HTC
While Nokia is asking HTC to “compete using its own innovations and to stop copying from Nokia,” HTC may have cause for legal action against ST Microelectronics if they are not able to less the HTC One in the Netherlands. We do not know if Nokia will be seeking additional injunctions against the HTC One in other European countries, but we can imagine that HTC is already looking for another supplier for its microphone chips.
Update: New information about the case shows that the courts have not found HTC to be liable for the use of the ST Microelectronics microphones used in the HTC One. Court documents show that Nokia and ST Microelectronics signed a contract which gives Nokia 12 months exclusivity on the microphone chips, but there was a misunderstanding over when the exclusivity deal was set to begin. Since the Nokia 720 was the first Nokia phone to use the chip, the courts have ruled that Nokia has exclusive rights to the technology until February of 2014. Since HTC is not at fault, the courts will allow HTC to sell the HTC One in the Netherlands as long as the devices have already been imported into the country.