HMD was sued in Germany and soon after in the U.S. and Brazil for not being fair in its use of VoLTE patents in Nokia phones. The problem is not that simple, as smartphones need more than just hardware and Android OS to work properly. There is a whole set of patented technologies that are necessary for our phone to even connect to the network, let alone transmit the sound of voice. One such software enables the VoLTE feature on our smartphones, and companies like VoiceAge EVS LLC own the patent rights to it.
Anything that is patent-protected must pay some sort of royalty, but these companies must comply with FRAND requirements, which are fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms for patents that are essential to a technical standard. According to HMD Global, VoiceAge EVS LLC is not such a company and there was a problem when they sued HMD in some markets.
HMD shared his point of view on this issue and explained what the problem is. In short, there are many VoLTE standards and the one for which VoiceAge EVS LLC has patents is not even the best one available. However, the 3D audio codec IVAS, the successor to EVS, is currently being standardized by 3GPP and, worst of all, some operators require this software to be built into smartphones whether or not it is used or needed by the network. This means that if a manufacturer wants to sell its phone in a market where a certain operator dominates, EVS must be integrated.
This practice does not comply with FRAND requirements and VoiceAge’s behavior EVS LLC continues to harm HMD and consumers. For this reason, HMD has also complained to the European Commission about VAEVS, asking the authorities to intervene on the over-standardization, open standards requirements, and apparent non-FRAND compliant claims and behaviors.
Check the full press release.
Thanks Luke for the tip 😉