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.


  1. “@ breeze

    @Alx: Steve Jobs is usually right, reasonable,tries to keep an open mind and his long standing record certainly proves this.”

    Couldn’t agree more Breeze, I’m wrong!!! Steve is always right!!!! I should kiss the life sized picture of his ass that you having hanging in your bedroom!!!!!

    And please, don’t make me laugh at you and other fanboys claiming to “know the facts”… pfffttttt

  2. As someone who has worked as an microelectronics packaging engineer in the telecomm industry, this is possible.

    Sometimes Asian firms sell you silicon that contains technology that they have no right to resell (except in ASIA where intellectual property is a very loose term). They expect the buyer to get all the legal stuff done from their end. SO, Apple may very well be at fault…without having any idea of the pickle they got themselves into.

    just my $0.02

  3. @Alx: The facts are publicly available to anyone who wants to invest the time energy and interest. When Jobs is proven wrong by result or reality ( as opposed to what second guessers who aren’t capable of making two ends fit, think) he has never been shy to admit and apologize.

    It’s not about being right , but about mattering…

    Read this article and say AMEN after:

  4. @ Big Als MBP

    Not sure that Apple has more patents than Nokia. Nokia is a much larger company than Apple with multiple times the revenue. I think they sold 400 million phones last year for example.

    Actually, I think that Nokia is in the best position of current tech companies to make computers that could challenge Apple. Too bad their new “Booklet” netbook runs Windows.

    If Nokia were to put its R&D;behind a Linux based OS, I think they could actually compete against Apple. Nokia does have a history of manufacturing quality and innovation. Linus Torvalds and Nokia are both Finnish. Must be something in the water there.

  5. The strategic counter-moves are rather obvious:

    1) Apple countersues Nokia for violation of its IP;

    2) And either by virtue of this move or of its own volition, Nokia and Apple come to agree on some sort of contract to share each others’ IP…

  6. “I’m sure if the tables were turned… Apple would be suing Nokia. “

    Don’t be so sure. Apple has released its IP (royalty free) to governing standards bodies on several occasions in order to further an industry standard.

  7. @ Planar

    Nokia’s a larger company than Apple? That depends on how you figure. Apple is *worth* nearly 4 times Nokia, so in that sense, Apple is much larger. In terms of profit, Apple is larger. In terms of raw revenue, Nokia is larger, but not by that much, and Apple, of course, is far more profitable. In terms of unit sales, Nokia sells more items, but most of those are incredibly cheap phones to the third world and make no one any money. In terms of employes, I would suspect Nokia has far more than Apple (and 2/3 of Apple’s work in retail at their stores), but does that matter?

    The bottom line is *importance*. If Nokia were to disappear tomorrow would anyone notice or care? If it were Apple, half the world would go into mourning!

  8. MDN are you saying Apple cannot compete if they sue. So if they do end up suing someone for using multi-touch, I guess you openly are bending over and taking one up the wazoo. Wow. Very hypocritical of you and it lessens your credibility for future comments.

    If Nokia spent the money, owns the patent, and Apple is infringing, they damn well should pay. If it were the other way, the result would be the same. As for the ignoram-anuses that are going on about 2 years between lawsuits, they take a long time to build the case. Get some common sense and figure that out on your own man! Apple takes its’ time as well.

    My personal take is that Nokia will offset these royalty fees for a royalty-free use of multi-touch technology while Apple will sue all other infringers – RIM, HTC, MS, Palm etc.. However, not sure Apple will agree to the deal.

  9. It is strange for Nokia to sue Apple and not the radio mfr of the GSM, UMTS or WLAN parts.

    As for the person who thought Nokia could make a killer Linux OS, well, they have a Linux OS called the Maemo, and it is on their N800 series of communicator devices and they are putting them on their future high-end devices.

  10. I can’t believe the attitude here. Assuming the facts are as indicated, that a large number of other companies are licensing the ip, that is clear evidence that the patents are legitimate. Nokia has been extremely innovative in the wireless comm arena for many years. If Apple is infringing they should have to pay licensing fees. The press release language implies that Apple and Nokia have been in licensing discussions for quite some time. Apple is probably trying to be cheap and Nokia is finally resorting to the courts. That is just how these things work. No villians here, just business.

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