Nokia filed a lawsuit against Apple, alleging the company's iPhone infringes on 10 Nokia patents that span WCDMA, GSM and WiFi technologies. The filing brings to a head heated market competition between the two device makers, and comes just days after contrasting third-quarter numbers that showed Nokia on the decline and Apple as a white-hot Wall Street favorite.
"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 of legal and 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."
Apple representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a release, Nokia said the patents in question cover "wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption, and are infringed by all Apple iPhone models shipped since the iPhone was introduced in 2007." Nokia said its 10 patents have been declared essential to industry standards (though the company did not say which organization declared them essential), and that it has signed licensing agreements that include the patents with around 40 companies, "including virtually all the leading mobile device vendors."
When asked why Nokia apparently waited more than two years to file the lawsuit, spokeswoman Laurie Armstrong said: "Nokia has been in discussion with Apple for patent licensing for quite some time, but Apple has not agreed to a level of payments which Nokia believes is fair and reasonable."
Nokia boasted that it has invested more than $60 billion on wireless research and development during the past two decades, and that patent-licensing agreements have allowed "the industry to benefit from Nokia's innovation."
Interestingly, Nokia is no stranger to patent-licensing litigation. Just last week the International Trade Commission rejected InterDigital's claims that Nokia phones infringe on InterDigital's patents. And last year Nokia and Qualcomm announced a 15-year patent agreement that settled bitter and drawn-out litigation between the companies.
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