HTC Electronics Imports to Be Probed by U.S. on Nokia Compliant

Nokia Oyj (NOK1V)’s claim of patent infringement on electronics, including mobile phones and tablet computers from Taiwan’s HTC Corp. (2498), will be reviewed by a U.S. agency that has the power to block imports of the goods.

The International Trade Commission agreed to investigate Nokia’s complaint, filed with the agency last month, according to a statement yesterday. No date has been set for a decision.

Nokia on May 2 said it filed lawsuits in the U.S. and Germany over inventions for mobile devices, naming HTC among several manufacturers. The company, which lost its 14-year title as the world’s biggest seller of mobile phones last year to Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), is seeking to expand revenue from its patent holdings.

HTC is using proprietary technology of Espoo, Finland-based Nokia to improve hardware and software functions in its devices, the company said in a statement when it filed the suits.

Nokia has joined Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) to make Lumia smartphones that run using Windows Phone software, which competes with Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android operating system. HTC makes phones for both Android and Windows Phone.

A final decision in the trade commission’s investigation will be made “at the earliest practicable time,” according to the statement. A hearing will be held, then a commission judge will issue findings in the case. If a violation is found, the six-member commission will then vote on whether to block HTC phones from entering the U.S. market,.

A spokesman for HTC wasn’t immediately available to comment. Nokia and HTC have been partners in fighting patent- infringement claims by IPCom GmbH, a licensing company that obtained mobile-phone patents from Robert Bosch GmbH in 2007.

About 10 companies, including Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Research in Motion Ltd., dominate the global industry. There was about $312 billion in worldwide sales of handsets in 2011, a 19 percent increase from 2010, according to Bloomberg Industries.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brian Wingfield in Washington at bwingfield3@bloomberg.net; Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Geimann at sgeimann@bloomberg.net

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