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Summary:

The Apple-Nokia patent fight continues today, with Apple countersuing Nokia. This fight isn’t just about Nokia’s waning market share, however, but a symptom of how convergence is changing the mobile landscape.

Nokia N97 and iPhone 3GS

Apple today filed a countersuit against Nokia, which sued it back in October over alleged patent infringement on several forms of wireless technologies that Nokia licenses to others. Apple’s retaliatory suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court in Delaware and covers 13 patents Apple holds, illustrates in legal language how the convergence of wireless voice and personal computing is shaking up the mobile market.

Nokia, a leader in wireless voice, and Apple, a leader in personal computing, both have patents related to the technology needed to make today’s smartphones, according to the filing. Apple is arguing that Nokia won’t license its wireless patents to Apple on fair and reasonable terms, and that Nokia is using its wireless patents as a way to force Apple into a cross-licensing deal around its computing technology. From the suit:

This attempt by Nokia to leverage patents previously pledged to industry standards is an effort to free ride on the commercial success of Apple’s innovative iPhone while avoiding liability for copying the iPhone and infringing Apple’s patents.

TheAppleBlog has more on the spat, but it appears to be little more than a bargaining tactic since both parties have something worth licensing. The question is whether Nokia is asking for too much, or Apple is offering to pay too little. As companies increasingly put out connected devices and bring computing to even more of our existing gadgets, expect more of these types of suits and cross-license spats. Especially if one player feels it’s at a disadvantage in the changing market.

Image courtesy of William Hook via Flickr.

  1. Wow… can’t wait for Google to jump in on one of these mobile lawsuits. Seems to be trendy!

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  2. You missed the important point. Nokia’s patents are not private, they were submitted for open standards with the promise to license them to others for a fair and reasonable fee along with the others contributing their patents to the standard. Nokia demanded Apple license its private patents, which were not part of open standard technologies, in order to use Nokia’s open standards ones. Nokia is trying to leverage a pig for a race horse in a way that is counter to their agreement involved in joining the open standard groups in licensing the group’s patents to create an open stand in the first place.

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  3. Triple the going rate that other companies are paying sounds a bit much.

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  4. We all how bad policy has Apple. First of all, I don’t think they’re right in this case. Second, if they win, will that mean that then everyone will be paying Apple fee for using the IP? That’s even worse. Nokia appreciates other companies and knows how to do business. Apple knows only to care for their own butt and I’m sure that the fee will be even higher then..

    Nokia spends ten times more recourses on research and development, and they were in this business when Apple didn’t even knew what OS to buy to base OS X on..

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  5. [...] regarding 13 of its own patents. The suits appear to be little more than bargaining tactics, as Stacey noted earlier this month, since both companies have technologies worth [...]

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