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HTC phones have disappeared from sale in the UK

HTC has pulled its smartphones from sale in the UK over an intellectual property row, it has emerged.

R&D company Ipcom says HTC has failed to abide by a court order to build a workaround for its IP – a technology developed for car phones – into the Taiwanese firm’s phones.

HTC had promised to add the workaround to its handsets, but Ipcom carried out independent tests and discovered HTC hadn’t lived up to its word. As a result HTC is now listing all handsets on its UK store as out of stock, despite claiming the IP spat only pertains to a singular model.

That means the HTC U12 Life, HTC U12+, HTC Desire 12/12+ and HT U11 life cannot be purchased from the company itself at this time and it’s unclear if and when they will return.

A spokesperson told the BBC: “As a leading innovator, HTC takes intellectual property issues very seriously We are proactively investigating an infringement claim by a third party with respect to a single handset model.”

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A number of the leading third party retailers have already stopped selling HTC phones as the struggling division struggles to stay afloat. Many of their devices can still be obtained from Amazon and it’s not clear whether HTC will attempt to remove them from sale.

It’s all part of a slow fall from grace for HTC, which was the company that first showed us the potential of the Android operating system a over decade ago.

It introduced the first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1, and the HTC Hero was the finest phone of its time. Its HTC Desire and HTC One lines were, for the longest time, serious competitors to the likes of Samsung, LG, Motorola and more.

However, the firm has struggled to innovate amid competition from Chinese upstarts like Huawei, OnePlus and Xiaomi. Whether we’ll see many more releases from the company, which sold off large portions of its division to Google a couple of years back, remains to be seen.

In the current climate, it’s difficult to know whether many people would notice that the company has removed its devices from sale. It’s like that old tree in the woods metaphor…