Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nokia, Apple Patent Feud Continues

Nokia Corp. on Tuesday fired the latest salvo in a patent-infringement battle with Apple Inc., filing a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission alleging that the California-based maker of computers and music players infringes multiple Nokia patents with its products.

Apple declined to comment on Nokia's filing with the ITC.

Nokia alleges that "Apple infringes Nokia patents in virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players and computers." The Finnish cellphone maker said the seven patents in the complaint relate to user-interface as well as camera, antenna and power-management technologies that Apple uses in its products.

"While our litigation in Delaware is about Apple's attempt to free-ride on the back of Nokia investment in wireless standards, the ITC case filed today is about Apple's practice of building its business on Nokia's proprietary innovation," said Paul Melin, in charge of patent licensing at Nokia.

The companies have gone back and forth for the better part of the year, with Nokia demanding in May and then again in September that Apple pay a royalty to license its patents.

Nokia sued for patent infringement in October, and Apple earlier this month denied the charges and said it was countersuing Nokia for allegedly infringing 13 of Apple's patents.

Since Apple's launch of the iPhone smartphone, Nokia -- the world's biggest cellphone maker -- and others have struggled to keep pace in the smartphone market.

In its fiscal fourth quarter, Apple sold 7.4 million iPhones, up 7% from a year earlier. In October, Nokia said its sales volume dropped 8% to 109 million phones during the third quarter.