Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

Nokia and Apple dispute shows 'patent wars' in telecoms market not over, says expert

Out-Law News | 22 Dec 2016 | 5:31 pm | 1 min. read

Nokia's claims that Apple has infringed some of its patents shows that mobile phone patent wars are not over, an expert has said.

On Wednesday, Finnish mobile device manufacturer Nokia announced that it had launched legal proceedings against Apple in both Germany and the US. It has claimed that the US technology giant has infringed 32 of its patents, including those that cover display, user interface, software, antenna, chipsets and video coding technologies.

In a statement, Nokia claimed that Apple has declined to enter into agreements to licence some of its "patented inventions" which it said are "used by many of Apple's products".

"While it seemed as if the patent wars in the mobile phone sector slowed down recently, Nokia’s attack demonstrates the opposite," said Munich-based patent law expert Marc L. Holtorf of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com. "Moreover, Nokia’s strategy to file patent infringement actions in both Europe and the US shows that the company is serious about re-entering the mobile phone market."

Nokia said it has filed legal papers before four courts in total: regional courts in Dusseldorf, Mannheim and Munich in Germany, and the US district court for the eastern district of Texas. The company said it is also "in the process of filing further actions in other jurisdictions".

Ilkka Rahnasto, head of patent business at Nokia, said: "Through our sustained investment in research and development, Nokia has created or contributed to many of the fundamental technologies used in today's mobile devices, including Apple products. After several years of negotiations trying to reach agreement to cover Apple's use of these patents, we are now taking action to defend our rights."

Out-Law.com did not receive a response from Apple when it asked for a statement in response to Nokia's claims.

Apple has separately filed legal papers in the US against Acacia Research and Conversant Intellectual Property Management, according to media reports. Apple has accused the companies of acting with Nokia to obtain unfair patent royalties from it.

"We’ve always been willing to pay a fair price to secure the rights of patents covering technology in our products," Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock said, according to a Reuters report. "Unfortunately, Nokia has refused to licence their patents on a fair basis and is now using the tactics of a patent troll to attempt to extort money from Apple by applying a royalty rate to Apple’s own inventions they had nothing to do with."