Patents are created to protect intellectual property from being overused without a proper reward to the original patent holder. However, some patents can be misused by companies that seek and sue phone manufacturers for profit. The latter has happened to HMD Global or the licensee of the Nokia brand for smartphones which is a holder of numerous patents from Microsoft and Nokia days which enables them to use Nokia phones without problem, but some patents are used from other companies.
For example, the patent for VoLTE communication is owned by VoiceAgeEVS LLC, which has asked HMD Global for royalty payments. After the holder of the Nokia brand declined to do so, VoiceAgeEVS LLC became pretty active in EU courts.
They filed a lawsuit against HMD Global and won the case which resulted in the sales ban of Nokia devices in Germany and other markets. HMD appealed since they are for licensing on fair and reasonable terms. Since good sales are needed for HMD to keep the Nokia brand business alive, the Finnish startup decided to drop the use of VoLTE on the latest Nokia smartphones and take care of the problem that way. Nokia phones should be returning to the webshop soon.
Here is the official statement from HMD Global:
As the owner of a significant patent portfolio, HMD takes intellectual property rights seriously and is willing to offer and take licenses on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (“FRAND”) terms. HMD is a defendant in several lawsuits initiated by a company called VoiceAgeEVS LLC in different jurisdictions, including Germany. We are disappointed by the ruling of the VoiceAge lawsuit in Germany in December and are appealing. HMD remains confident regarding the outcome of the overall dispute and will continue to provide consumers devices, accessories, and services that they love, trust and want to keep. Given the excessive non-FRAND royalty demands made publicly by VAEVS, HMD has already taken measures to remove support for EVS from products sold in Germany to enable continued sales. HMD does not expect the removal of EVS functionality to have any meaningful impact on its business. HMD continues to sell a significant portfolio in Europe and will be including a full portfolio on our websites shortly.
Personally, I don’t care about the VoLTE missing on devices, since I lived without the service before and I can do it in the future. What is your opinion on this?