Nokia sues Apple claiming iPhone infringement of Nokia GSM, UMTS and WLAN patents

Nokia today sued Apple claiming iPhone patent infringement. Nokia’s press release, verbatim:

Nokia sues Apple in Delaware District Court for infringement of Nokia GSM, UMTS and WLAN patents

October 22, 2009

Espoo, Finland – Nokia announced that it has today filed a complaint against Apple with the Federal District Court in Delaware, alleging that Apple’s iPhone infringes Nokia patents for GSM, UMTS and wireless LAN (WLAN) standards.

As a leading innovator in wireless communications, Nokia has created one of the strongest and broadest patent portfolios in the industry, investing more than EUR 40 billion in R&D during the last two decades. Much of this intellectual property, including the patents in suit, has been declared essential to industry standards. Nokia has already successfully entered into license agreements including these patents with approximately 40 companies, including virtually all the leading mobile device vendors, allowing the industry to benefit from Nokia’s innovation.

The ten patents in suit relate to technologies fundamental to making devices which are compatible with one or more of the GSM, UMTS (3G WCDMA) and wireless LAN standards. The patents cover wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption and are infringed by all Apple iPhone models shipped since the iPhone was introduced in 2007.

“The basic principle in the mobile industry is that those companies who contribute in technology development to establish standards create intellectual property, which others then need to compensate for,” said Ilkka Rahnasto, Vice President, Legal & Intellectual Property at Nokia. “Apple is also expected to follow this principle. By refusing to agree appropriate terms for Nokia’s intellectual property, Apple is attempting to get a free ride on the back of Nokia’s innovation.”

During the last two decades, Nokia has invested approximately EUR 40 billion in research and development and built one of the wireless industry’s strongest and broadest IPR portfolios, with over 10,000 patent families. Nokia is a world leader in the development of GSM technologies and its evolution to UMTS / 3G WCDMA as well as wireless LAN, which is also demonstrated by Nokia’s strong patent position in these technologies.

Source: Nokia

MacDailyNews Take: Can’t compete? Litigate.

58 Comments

  1. This will get interesting. Apple is selling a small hand held multi touch computer that runs OS X and is able to do anything that Apple could do on the other devices that Apple produces. Oh, and it also makes wireless phone calls.

    Will the Mac tablet be violating these patents when it wirelessly does iChat?

  2. Is there any merit to this lawsuit? I, in standard mac-Nazi fashion, usually shake my head and mutter (or post) a degrading comment. But I am genuinely curious because I think the answer can shed a lot more light on the state of mobile tech than many of us realize.

  3. First, did it really take over two years to figure this out and file the suit?

    Second, over 10,000 patents? How does any company go through every similar device and make sure they don’t infringe on any patents?

  4. Where was the lawsuit two years ago? They should have filed this from day one. What does other phone makers do? Do they pay Nokia? If so than why have they not complained? Well a lot of lawyers are going to make money that could have been spent on R&D;for both companies.

  5. Over 200 Apple patents on iPhone… and Nokia still found some stuff to get monney from?
    If only, right from scratch, they’d be that clever to create such a smart phone by their own!… 8o

  6. Just because you file a patent, it does not mean your patent will stand up to scrutiny. Just because you file 10,000 patents, that does not automatically mean they are legitimate patents. Anyone can file a patent and there is a lot of nuance and legal issues involved.

    Let’s wait to see Apple’s response before jumping the gun.

    Unfortunately, many companies settle out of court when faced with a patent lawsuit as they can be expensive to defend against. However, the stakes are high here and Apple has the warchest to defend itself. Let’s see what happens.

  7. Apple is no different from any other hi-tech company…steal technology and wait to be sued…Apple is no stranger to the courts when suing others for infringement of their patents. Lets all no get too emotional it is only business!

  8. I don’t understand what the problem is. If the situation would be reversed then surely everybody here would agree that Nokia should have to pay to Apple if there indeed would be a case of infringement, OTOH if there is no case – then fine, case closed ..move on..

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