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Germany to ban sale of HTC handsets

Following a ruling by a German court, Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC may face a sales ban of its smartphones and other mobile devices in Germany, adding another page to the company's rough history of sales issues and plummeting market share.

The ruling comes after a lawsuit by Acacia Research Corporation, a U.S.-based patent licensing firm which sued HTC over unlicensed use of standard-essential patents - patents which affect standard mobile technologies, and regulate how companies can use those technologies to earn a profit.

The injunction was granted on November 27, but will go into effect later this month. Once the ruling goes into effect, HTC will be unable to sell its devices through Deutsche Telekom, one of the largest telecom companies in Germany with an annual revenue of over €60 billion ($65.5 billion).

HTC says it plans to appeal the ruling, and is working with Deutsche Telekom to ensure limited service disruption to its customers.

Amid dropping sales figures, HTC has taken steps to retool its marketing and product strategy. The company has made attempts to penetrate the wearables market in the past, but has pushed back the launch of its flagship line of wearables until early 2016.

The company has also made strides to address concerns that its current line of devices make few changes between generations. Leaked photos of the upcoming One X9 suggest significant design changes for HTC moving forward, including the addition of capacitive navigation buttons and mid-range hardware specifications.

HTC has also refocused its efforts on the smartphone hobbyist community, boosting specs and hardware quality with the release of its latest device, the One A9. The company also allows device owners to unlock the bootloader and root the phone without voiding warranty, making HTC one of the first companies in the smartphone industry to offer this level of freedom for device owners.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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