Nokia files third suit against Apple
Published: 7 January, 2010
Nokia is determined not to leave any stone unturned in its legal battle against Apple, and has filed its third lawsuit in three months, this time returning to the US District Court in Delaware. The new broadside comes less than a week after it made a complaint to the US International Trade Commission, seeking an injunction against Apple products that, it claims, infringe seven of its patents.
The latest suit focuses on the same seven patents, and claims that Apple has infringed IPR of such importance that it defines Nokia's "uniqueness". Like the ITC action, this one focuses on 'implementation patents', rather than the 'essential patents' of the first Delaware action. They fall into areas like user interface, antennas, power management, cameraphone and touchscreen - in other words, the essential features of a modern smartphone - and include patents for a "mobile station with touch input having automatic symbol magnification function", and an "optimized camera sensor architecture for a mobile telephone".
While the first Delaware suit focused on essential IPR within the GSM, UMTS and WLan standards - where Nokia unquestionably has a powerful position - the later two filings are looking at patents in areas where both firms may have something significant to offer and trade. The fact they have not done so in the past shows the depth of their rivalry, and possibly an unwillingness to exchange secrets.
The ITC filing had already broadened the original complaint significantly, taking it beyond the iPhone and claiming that Apple "infringes Nokia patents in virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players and computers".
The original suit cited 10 Nokia patents, most of them fundamental to GSM, WLan or UMTS and widely licensed by other handset makers. Nokia alleges that every iPhone model sold has infringed on these patents - which include wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption. The filing's catchline was that the iPhone maker was "attempting to get a free ride on the back of Nokia's innovation".