It seems that HMD Global has been forced to pull most of its smartphones out of the German and Swiss markets, leaving only the two newly announced models – the Nokia G21 and G11. What happened?
The company is being sued by VoiceAgeEVS LLC (VAEVS) over patents related to VoLTE and the Enhanced Voice Service standard that it is based on. VAEVS applied for a sales ban in December and for now courts are siding with it.
Heading over to the Nokia Germany and Nokia Switzerland sites we see only the G21 and G11 and no mention of 2021 phones or older. Something is afoot in France, Italy, Spain and even HMD’s home country of Finland as well. In those countries only the G21 is available to buy (but older models are still listed, unlike in Germany and Switzerland). The X20, X10 and others are available in the UK, however.
Nokia Germany’s smartphone page is looking quite barren
It’s not clear how long that will last as the lawsuit wasn’t filed in just Germany. Here is a statement from HMD Global (machine translated):
HMD is a defendant in a number of lawsuits filed by VoiceAgeEVS LLC (“VAEVS”) in various jurisdictions, including Germany. We are disappointed with the completion of the VoiceAge enforcement proceedings in Germany in December and have lodged a complaint. In the meantime, we have ensured that none of the devices offered and distributed in Germany support EVS,” commented HMD Global on the situation in Germany.
VAEVS has sued other companies over its Enhanced Voice Services patents, including Apple, Lenovo and TCL in 2020. Those companies settled out of court, but it looks like HMD is liking its chances of winning the court battle.
Source 1 (in German) | Source 2 (in Finnish) | Source 3 (in German)