HTC has been fighting to help improve its sales in the smartphone market. The company has seen profits shrink along with its market share and it is now forced to work with QUALCOMM on redesigning a chip inside of its flagship HTC One to avoid an import ban. The redesign comes after smartphone rival Nokia won a preliminary ruling in court in the US.
In late September, a judge for the International Trade Commission handed down a preliminary ruling that HTC was infringing on two Nokia held patents. Those two patents had to do with technology that help to enhance transmission and reception of phone calls. The chip that infringed on the Nokia patents was made by QUALCOMM.
The case in court itself listed older HTC smartphones by name. However, the HTC One and other new HTC smartphones also use the technology and would be banned along with the other smartphones if the ITC decides to block imports of the HTC devices according to people who familiar with the situation.
Any ban on the importation of the HTC One to the United States could have dire consequences for HTC. Currently the US accounts for about 20% of HTC's shipments. Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant has stated that the company believes the HTC One violates its patents and would be included under any ITC ban. The ITC will make its final decision in January giving HTC time to come up with workarounds or convince the judge it is not infringing on Nokia's patents. One of the workarounds HTC and QUALCOMM are reported to be working on is a redesign of the infringing chip.