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EP 1148681 is a EU patent owned by Nokia. Nokia has been granted an injunction against all of HTC's Android devices based on this patent.

This shouldn't even be patentable in the EU, since software patents aren't allowed here, and this patent builds entirely on known hardware, leaving it to a software component to give the patent leverage.

How can this patent be shown as void in the EU? Can we present prior art? Can we show that the patent is a "pure" software patent, by showing that the hardware base for it is prior art? Is there a similar US-patent?

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I am assuming HTC is doing everything they can, with a large budget to fight this. –  George White Jan 3 '14 at 17:56

2 Answers 2

I do not know which claims were judged as infringed but the first claim of that patent is:

A method of transferring resource related information from a first terminal to a second terminal of a wireless communication network, wherein at least the first terminal is a client of a server connected to an external network and also to a wireless communication network which includes the terminals, comprising the steps of the first terminal negotiating a connection with the second terminal and subsequently transferring the information over the connection.

It does seem vague, at least without reading the spec., but this is not a pure software claim, so to answer a sub-part of the question - no it can not be shown to be a pure software patent.

To answer another part of your question, google patents shows that there are two coresponding U.S. pending applications but no issued U.S. patents.

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The link provided by the OP leads to the application (kind code A2), not the granted patent. The granted patent (kind code B1) is available at:

http://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/originalDocument?FT=D&date=20051207&DB=&&CC=EP&NR=1148681B1&KC=B1&ND=1&locale=en_EP

(Select "6/17 Claims" in the drop-down list next to "Page" near the top.)

and at:

http://www.google.com/patents/EP1148681B1?cl=en&hl=en

The independent claim as granted therefore is:

A method of transferring resource related information from a first mobile wireless communication terminal (1a) to a second mobile wireless communication terminal (1b, 1c), said first and second terminals operating in a wireless communication network (50), wherein at least the first terminal is a client of a server (20) connected to an external network and also to the wireless communication network which includes the first and second terminals, comprising the steps of:

connecting the first terminal to the external network to contact a resource;

the first terminal negotiating a communication connection between the first and second terminals; and

subsequently transferring information relating to the resource to the second terminal over the communication connection.

Contrary to popular myths, there is no general provision in the EPC which "prohibits software patents". The granted claim specifies two wireless mobile communication terminals, a wireless communication network, etc., which clearly confer fundamental technical character to the claim. However, the assessment of inventive step is impacted if claim features related to a computer program are present (i.e., in general the hurdle gets higher).

For further reading see:

http://www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/html/guidelines/e/g_ii_3_6.htm

and in particular:

http://www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/html/guidelines/e/g_vii_5_4.htm

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On the prior art front, read up on Packet Radio + AX.25 + KA9Q. The described techniques were around and standardised in the 80's, I don't know the dates but a quick Google should reveal the dates of the original drafts. On the patentability front, an EU patent can be granted for an invention that includes software, but not for simply performing an operation in software (explicitly excluded by Article 52(2) c). –  arober11 Aug 7 at 19:31
    
I am sorry, but you are simply wrong. Art. 52(2)(c) relates to "programs for computers PER SE". There is an ocean of difference between this formulation, which basically states that you cannot get a patent on a source code listing, and your general "performing an operation in software". The EPC is not clear at all on where to draw the line concerning software patents, which is why there is an entire library of case law on the matter. I invite you - again - to read to the aforementioned Guidelines passages instead of spreading an entirely unsubstantiated and obsolete EPC interpretation. –  Dr. Stephen Falken Aug 9 at 7:00
    
To save you the trouble of clicking the link, here is the first sentence of the pertinent Guidelines passage, which is the basis for the EPO's daily work: "Inventions involving programs for computers can be protected in different forms of a "computer-implemented invention", an expression intended to cover claims which involve computers, computer networks or other programmable apparatus whereby prima facie one or more of the features of the claimed invention are realised by means of a program or programs." Note how the first sentence says "can" and not "cannot". –  Dr. Stephen Falken Aug 9 at 7:04

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