Apple sues Nokia’s patent trolls; says Nokia attempting to ‘compensate for its own failing cell phone business’

“Apple on Tuesday filed an antitrust lawsuit against Acacia Research Corporation and Conversant Intellectual Property Management, alleging that the two ‘patent assertion entities’ have colluded with Nokia ‘to extract and extort exorbitant revenues unfairly and anticompetitively from Apple’ and other companies,” Thomas Claburn reports for The Register. “The lawsuit comes a week after Apple was ordered to pay Conversant subsidiary Core Wireless Licensing $7.3m for infringing on two mobile communications patents.”

“According to the complaint, Acacia and its subsidiaries have sued Apple more than 40 times in the US and abroad, while Conversant and its subsidiaries have sued Apple more than two dozen times. At least a dozen of these patent infringement claims have been based on Nokia patents,” Claburn reports. “But Apple contends that in supporting Acacia’s and Conversant’s patent claims, Nokia has violated commitments made to license standard essential patents (‘SEPs’) under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (‘FRAND’) terms.”

“Nokia’s failure to compete in the mobile phone market led it to seek revenue through litigation, Apple argues in its complaint,” Claburn reports. “‘Unable to compete with innovative companies such as Apple – which had developed a revolutionary hardware and software platform – Nokia quickly transformed itself,’ the complaint says. ‘It changed from a company focused on supplying cell phones and other consumer products to a company bent on exploiting the patents that remain from its years as a successful cell phone supplier.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Nokia et al. are jokes.

As for Nokia’s “failing” cell phone business, make that “failed.” Past tense.

This is all part of an elaborate patent licensing fan dance.

SEE ALSO:
Nokia sues Apple in Germany and the US for infringement of Nokia patents – December 21, 2016

18 Comments

  1. Apple should just pay up. Even though they could be in the right, we all know how competent Apples Lawers’s are & it’s gonna be in east texas (no caps, as they don’t play fair)…guaranteed loss & years of appeals.

    1. I agree. With Apple’s crack legal team (extreme, dripping sarcasm intended) Apple is likely to get hit with the max that Nokia and the rest demand plus triple damages for intentional infringement.

    2. I strongly disagree. Apple does not want to set a precedent for being a pushover, caving in to every patent troll that files a lawsuit. Even if it costs more than settling, Applr needs to fight the good fight.

      If Apple owes money, then it should pay it in good faith. If it does not, then it should fight to the last round.

  2. This is what happens when a business, in this case, Nokia, abandons the core product for which the company is known and has an accumulated customer loyalty which finances all other company activities.

    Ignoring the older ‘nerd child’ because the younger ‘cool child’ is popular at the moment (and making you a ton of money) is a recipe for resentment, bitterness and hostility. A lot of Mac power users are currently feeling ignored because their needs are not being addressed.

    You can’t release a sh!tty, diluted product that nobody wants (pays money for) and suddenly proclaim, “Well, no-one’s buying these products, so they must not be popular anymore!”

    Wrong diagnosis.

    Powerbook thin-ness is not a feature. Stripping out all useful ports for dongles is not a feature. The Mac needs a dedicated team that knows their customers and their needs.

  3. Here’s one simple thought to help simply solve the Patent Troll nonsense:

    LAW: If a company no longer provides products using their patented technology, then that technology falls into a category I’ll call ‘Open For Public Use’. That means the technology remains within its patent, but is available at standardized, low, affordable licensing prices to ANY and ALL.

    Setting those prices will be the hard part, but I suggest the FRAND standard be used as the template.

    I like this because it
    (A) Doesn’t allow for buried technology
    (B) Forces patent holders to seriously consider their actual worth to the public, versus imaginary worth a proprietary technology.
    (C) Kills off patent trolling entirely. Instead of lawsuits, there is fair, reasonable and public-serving licensing.

    Is #MyStupidGovernment going to overcome its stupidity and create actual sane laws regarding technology patents? I wonder. Meanwhile, the lawyers win and the rest of us lose.

    1. Not a bad idea, but there must be a grace period.

      If a company stops shipping a product (e.g., runs out of inventory) but has designs developed (or being developed) for subsequent products then they must have patent protection up through the time those follow on products ship (or until the patent expires, whichever comes first.)

    2. How endearingly socialist of you dear Derek. I think I might agree!
      But… companies also pay royalties to government held patents as well. It’s only fair.

      Outcome will be less patents and more trade secrets, but then how to regulate?

      Then there’s the issue of cross licensing agreements. And issues like Shadowself describes.

      It’s probably easier and more fair to allow for patents as is, but make it much easier to challenge and invalidate, because 90% of them are BS. Especially software, design, and business practice patents.

      Frankly it might be easier to keep things as they are

      1. I deliberately said nothing about challenging/invalidating patents. Off topic.

        How my thought was twisted into being socialist, I cannot imagine and I won’t address.

        But thank you for pointing out drawbacks to my thought. That’s what I was looking for.

          1. … Which is not remotely what my thought stated. Instead, my thought mandates that unused technology IP instead be used out in the world, via fair licensing, rather than hoarded in parasitic Patent Troll ‘companies’ and used as lawsuit nail bats that feed the lawyers and parasites while forcing UNfair licensing on companies that put IP to work in the world.

            I thought it was a nicely simple concept that solved the problem.

            1. See, here’s the thing, a Patent is legally a Deed to an idea reduced to practice. In exchange for disclosure the government grants true monopoly over use of that invention. No ifs. ands. or buts. Licensing is not mandatory. The owner has every right to let it squalor, if they so choose.

              Interference with that, is diminishing the ownership.

              I sympathize with your point of view, I really do. The only democratic recourse I can come up with is to improve the patent system, such as challenges to grant and revocation of grant.

            2. Licensing is not mandatory

              But if the IP falls into disuse by the inventor, I believe fair licensing should be mandatory.

              I can point directly at innovative combustion engine designs, providing much improved fuel efficiency, that were bought up and buried by the automotive industry/carbon fuel industry.

              – There’s no question of ownership. (I don’t know how one can ‘diminish’ ownership).
              – There’s no question of fair licensing.
              – There’s no revocation of monopoly power during the patent… EXCEPT if the owner buries the patent or sells it off to an entity that buries it.

              IF a patent owner finds themselves in a situation where they themselves can put a patent to work in the public, then they can arrange a way to work with another entity to get the IP out into the public. As long as that process is ongoing, there’s no point or fairness in forced licensing.

              As for the US patent system, it’s a disaster of incompetence and delay. The USPTO has required an entire overhaul for decades. Leave it to #MyStupidGovernment to ignore this blatant fact and let it fester further.

              This is a very good discussion. Thanks applecynic!

            3. The way you diminish ownership is if you dictated what they can do with it. Property ownership, for instance is diminished by zoning laws because you don’t really ‘own’ your property. You buy it under terms of the incorporated town where it exists.

              There are no such limits on patents.

            4. Important points! My point is to keep patents active, thus killing patent trolling where they’re NOT and yet threaten those who seek to use that technology. I suppose my whole point is to find a way to kill off any opportunity for patent trolling, which has to include forcing such patents out into the public for use at fair licensing fees.

              Cut the heads off the patent troll snapping turtles.

    1. Nokia is pretty much dead. Microsoft did its usual bang up job in acquiring and devastating Nokia. Although, to be fair, Nokia was already on a steep downward slide before M$ stepped in to finish the job by focusing Nokia’s resources on Windows phones.

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