Nokia CEO won't comment on if Nokia will sue HTC

In late September, rumors hit the Internet that claimed Nokia was preparing to file a lawsuit against HTC. The story, using unnamed sources, claimed that Nokia felt the design of the HTC Windows Phone 8X was too similar to that of the Lumia 820, both of which will run on Windows Phone 8.

News.com conducted a new interview with Nokia CEO Stephen Elop today and asked him specifically about the similar designs that the HTC and Nokia's upcoming phones share, at least on the surface. When asked what will keep the average consumer from confusing HTC's smartphone products from Nokia's, Elop replied:

In the store, whether it's taking a picture, or navigating, or talking about the size of the battery, or any of those types of things, our device will stand out as the premium experience. And I think that's what's going to be really important to us going forward, to make sure that in that retail environment, that story is being told.

Then came the big question: News.com asked Elop directly if Nokia has any plans to take legal action against HTC for these smartphone design similarities. Not surprisingly, Elop dodged the question, saying:

We don't comment on specific legal things like that. Always we make sure that our trademarks, our intellectual property, and designs are protected, so we do that routinely. But I think also when people see the quality of design, the fit and finish, and so forth, copying is one thing. Doing it correctly is something very different. We're very proud of what we've done with these devices.

As we mentioned when this rumor first came up, it would not be a good idea to have the two biggest Windows Phone 8 hardware partners fighting each other in court over a design patent case. We suspect that Microsoft could step in before that happens to keep such a conflict from happening in order to secure a smooth launch for Windows Phone 8.

Source: News.com | Images via HTC and Nokia

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20 Comments

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I'm fairly certain making the Lumia 920 and exclusive for ATT in US will hurt sales #s more than whether or not a competing handset in the same ecosystem looks similar.

I think some of you just want action, in other words, you want Nokia to sue HTC.

The only thing similar is the color. The overall design of the HTC phone looks different. Look around the top and the bottom edges of the HTC phone especially when looking from the sides. The phone edges become narrower/oval while keeping the rectangular shape while the Nokia one looks more like a pure rectangle. Also we have not seen the HTC button locations. Had HTC gone with traditional colors, it would have looked quite different. Colors cannot be patented.

rwx said,
I think some of you just want action, in other words, you want Nokia to sue HTC.

The only thing similar is the color. The overall design of the HTC phone looks different. Look around the top and the bottom edges of the HTC phone especially when looking from the sides. The phone edges become narrower/oval while keeping the rectangular shape while the Nokia one looks more like a pure rectangle. Also we have not seen the HTC button locations. Had HTC gone with traditional colors, it would have looked quite different. Colors cannot be patented.

No but you can trademark a color.

"We don't comment on specific legal things like that."

In other words, "We will sue them like Apple sues everyone else."

it would not be a good idea to have the two biggest Windows Phone 8 hardware partners fighting each other in court over a design patent case.

On the other hand, it would be a wonderful thing for the platform's popularity and hence more numbers!

John, you should have added the 800 or 900 picture. Those look more alike to the HTC.

Anyway I hope Nokia won't go down this road, that would be actually more good publicity for them than suing HTC.

Majesticmerc said,
What kind of a messed up world do we live in where you get good publicity for NOT suing someone? Surely that should be the default

Should but for some reason isn't

Wow! A CEO saying the customer is smart enough to know the difference between their company's product and a competitor by allowing the product to stand on its own merits and build quality. Other companies, take notice. This is how you're supposed to do business.

Sranshaft said,
Wow! A CEO saying the customer is smart enough to know the difference between their company's product and a competitor by allowing the product to stand on its own merits and build quality. Other companies, take notice. This is how you're supposed to do business.
Until they start eating your lunch. Then you sue them!

ahinson said,
Until they start eating your lunch. Then you sue them!

If you're referring to profits with "lunch" if your company's product can't withstand the competition then adapt (make it better than the competition's), market (show why your product is better than the competition's) or get out of the business.

Sranshaft said,

If you're referring to profits with "lunch" if your company's product can't withstand the competition then adapt (make it better than the competition's), market (show why your product is better than the competition's) or get out of the business.

I would tend to agree. However, I think Apple and Samsung would like to have a talk with you.

The HTC phones look like HTC phones. The color is IMO a WP8 design language thing more than copying Nokia.. Nothing to see here.. move along..

Stephen Elop is really good with interviews!

Anyway, I really hope this doesn't happen, the Windows Phone ecosystem is different, and it is different from the inside-out as well. That is, there isn't any of the childishness going around like in the Android ecosystem, such as the pointless war over what is the best skin for android and the endless (and pointless again) war of specs. Neither is there the childishness from the Apple ecosystem, such as the pointless suing over design patents regarding rounded device corners and rounded icon design.

Perhaps Microsoft could make Nokia and HTC agree not to copy each other.

Toysoldier said,
WOW HTC added colour to their phones, SUE THE F**KERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

say what you want, but that curved glass going over the surface of the phone is definitely a page from nokia's design.

FalseAgent said,

say what you want, but that curved glass going over the surface of the phone is definitely a page from nokia's design.

Who did they copy the rounded corners from? /s