HMD Global, manufacturer of the well-known Nokia smartphones since 2016, is currently in a patent dispute. Now the company has stopped selling its devices in its own online shop.
If you are currently looking around nokia's online shop, you will find almost yawning emptiness. In the smartphone department, only two models are listed – the Nokia G21 and the Nokia G11. Older smartphones do not appear at all. The reason for this is a patent dispute between HMD Global and the company VoiceAgeEVS LLC.
As the colleagues from "heise online" report, the patent dispute is about the rights to the EVS technology (Enhanced Voice Services). This is an audio codec that significantly increases voice quality by, for example, covering a higher frequency range compared to HD voice, minimizing noise and making voices sound more natural. However, EVS only works if two smartphone users make calls to each other via VoLTE, i.e. via the LTE network. The rights to the technology are held by VoiceAgeEVS LLC, which is based in both Germany and the USA, together with the investment group Fortress.
VoiceAgeEVS LLC has already sued several smartphone manufacturers in recent years for infringing the patents on the technology. In addition to HMD Global, Apple, TCL and Lenovo were also present. Apple has now reached an out-of-court settlement, while HMD Global has let it come down to a lawsuit. However, the manufacturer VoiceAgeEVS LLC was defeated before the Mannheim Court last summer. As a result, enforcement proceedings took place in Germany in December 2021.
HMD Global stops smartphone sales on its website
Upon TECHBOOK's request, HMD Global confirms that the company is a defendant in several lawsuits brought by VoiceAgeEVS LLC in various jurisdictions, including In Germany. The manufacturer has already lodged an appeal against the enforcement proceedings issued three months ago. At the same time, they have decided to stop selling the affected smartphones for the time being.
"We are disappointed with the decision," HMD Global writes to us. However, it has been ensured that none of the Nokia smartphones offered and sold in Germany supports EVS anymore. "We will continue to sell Nokia Phones in Germany. HMD remains confident in the outcome of the litigation and will continue to offer consumers equipment, accessories and services in line with our slogan 'Love it, Trust it, Keep it'."
At the same time, the manufacturer emphasizes that the smartphones have only been taken from their own website, but not from the trade. And indeed, models such as the Nokia X20, the G50 or the Nokia 3.4 are still available via Amazon, Media Markt or Saturn, for example.
Sales stop of Nokia smartphones also in other countries
Not only in Germany, but also in countries such as France and Switzerland, HMD Global has opted for a temporary sales stop of Nokia smartphones on its website. In Austria and the USA, however, the devices are still listed.
It is unclear what consequences the sales stop of Nokia smartphones in its own shop will have for the company. It is also unclear how long the legal dispute will drag on. Whether the first defeat in court already means the end for Nokia in Germany, but must be doubted. Because usually it comes in such procedures at the end of an agreement.