After sales stop – Nokia brings smartphones back to online store

HMD Global, manufacturer of the well-known Nokia smartphones since 2016, is currently in a patent dispute. As a result, the company had to stop selling its devices in its own online store. But now the first smartphones are back.

Until recently, Nokia’s online store was virtually empty. In the smartphone section, just two models were listed since the end of February – the Nokia G21 and the Nokia G11. Older smartphones did not appear at all. The reason for the sales stop in its own store was a patent dispute between HMD Global and the company VoiceAgeEVS LLC. However, Nokia is now continuing the sale and offers partly modified models.

Update from 08 April

More smartphones in the Nokia store again

In the meantime, Nokia’s online store has filled up again. Besides the Nokia G11 and G21, the G50, X10, X20 and XR20 models can now be found there. However, they cannot be bought because the smartphones are not in stock. Customers can only continue to add the Nokia G11 and G21 to their shopping carts.

Curious: The manufacturer has written the note “New version” above all models that have been reintroduced into the store. However, HMD Global does not reveal what is new about the smartphones in detail. However, it can be assumed that the changes relate to the audio codec, because of which the patent dispute has arisen.

HMD Global is thus taking a step forward, even though it is unclear when smartphone sales in the Nokia store will resume on a larger scale and possibly even new devices will be added.

Original report from February 24, 2022

Nokia involved in patent dispute

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, for example by covering a higher frequency range than HD Voice, minimizing noise and making voices sound more natural. However, EVS only works when 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, a company based in both Germany and the U.S., together with the Fortress investment group.

VoiceAgeEVS LLC has already sued several smartphone manufacturers for infringement of patents on the technology in recent years. In addition to HMD Global, these included Apple, TCL and Lenovo. Apple has since reached an out-of-court settlement, but HMD Global has decided to go to trial. However, the manufacturer VoiceAgeEVS LLC lost in the Mannheim court last summer. This was followed by enforcement proceedings in Germany in December 2021.

HMD Global stops smartphone sales on its website

Upon atechbook request, HMD Global confirmed that the company is a defendant in several court cases filed by VoiceAgeEVS LLC in various jurisdictions, including Germany. The manufacturer has already filed an appeal against the enforcement proceedings issued in December. At the same time, the company had decided at the end of February to stop selling the affected smartphones for the time being, to be on the safe side.

“We are disappointed with the decision,” HMD Global wrote to us. However, the company said it has made sure that none of the Nokia smartphones offered and sold in Germany will support 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 devices, accessories and services to consumers in line with our slogan ‘Love it, Trust it, Keep it’.”

At the same time, the manufacturer emphasized that they had only taken the smartphones off their own website, not out of retail. And indeed, models like the Nokia X20, the G50 or the Nokia 3.4 were and are still available via Amazon, Media Markt or Saturn, for example.

Sales stop of Nokia smartphones also in other countries

HMD Global decided to temporarily stop selling Nokia smartphones on its website not only in Germany, but also in countries like France and Switzerland. However, the devices were still listed in Austria and the US.

It is unclear how long the legal dispute will drag on. Whether the first defeat in court already means the end for Nokia in Germany, however, must be doubted. In most cases, an agreement is reached in the end in such proceedings.

Sources

  • heise online
  • Statement from HMD Global
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