If Apple was expecting Nokia to back down and retract its patent lawsuit after Apple countersued, apparently Nokia didn’t get the memo. Nokia has launched a fresh assault, filing a new complaint with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that virtually every product Apple makes violates seven patents held by it.
In the ITC complaint, Nokia asks that the ITC investigate technologies used by Apple. Nokia accuses Apple of violating the seven patents in developing key elements of its products including the user interface, antenna, and power management.
Nokia drew first blood in the ongoing legal wrangling–filing a lawsuit claiming that Apple is in violation of as many as ten patents held by Nokia, which Nokia claims 40 other companies are currently paying licensing fees for. Apple responded by countersuing, alleging that Nokia is infringing on patents held by it as well–or instead–or both.
While Nokia is the leader in mobile phone and smartphone market share globally, it has struggled and continue to lose market share–much of which is being picked up by Apple’s iPhone. The initial challenge from Nokia was seen by many as an attempt to try and squash competition from the iPhone and cash in on its popularity by trying to get Apple to pay royalties for use of the technologies in question.
If Apple is, in fact, infringing on Nokia patents, Nokia certainly has a right to compensation, though. Nokia claims to have invested nearly $90 billion over the past 20 years on research and development for these and other patented technologies, and other companies–Apple included–should not be able to ride on Nokia’s research and development without fair compensation.
Often, cases like this involve each party escalating the suits and countersuits until the root issue is lost in the legal morass and eventually the two reach a settlement. Perhaps some money exchanges hands. A cross-licensing agreement is entered into where they agree to share each other’s allegedly infringed technologies, and nothing much changes in the grand scheme of things.
If either Nokia or Apple actually ride this horse to the finish line, though, and successfully win a judgment against the other, there could be significant implications in terms of the financial impact. The dispute could involve hundreds of millions of dollars in annual royalties which would certainly pad the winner’s bottom line while reducing the profits of the losing party.
Your move Apple.
Tony Bradley tweets as @PCSecurityNews, and can be contacted at his Facebook page.