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Google gets involved in HTC/Nokia patent dispute

After pursuing HTC through the British court system, Nokia has continued its patent battle in Germany. As a result of the latest action, an injunction has been secured throughout the country again all of HTC’s Android smartphones, following a ruling by the Munich I Regional Court.

Allegations of patent infringements by Android device manufacturers are nothing new. Typically, Google has left the manufacturers to fight these alone, but this time the search engine giant has decided to join the battle against Nokia.

The decision by Google to file a nullity complaint against Nokia is not likely to indicate a particularly close relationship with HTC. Instead, this time it appear that the dispute has the potential to threaten the wider Android ecosystem.

HTC has been found to infringe a patent covering the direct transfer of data between two devices, via NFC or Bluetooth.

As explained by intellectual property analyst Florian Mueller, Google’s intervention came too late to be of any assistance to HTC in the short term:

Under German law, a lawsuit is “rechtshängig” (pending) only after the complaint has been served by the court (which doesn’t act before receiving an advance on court fees) on the defendant.

Mueller goes on to point out that Google’s nullity complaint may well prove to be successful at a later date. However, given the potential far-reaching consequences for Android as a whole, it could be argued that the company was again too slow to react in the ever-present patent wars.