Summary:

A trial has started for one of the many patent infringement lawsuits pending in the smartphone industry. The initial loser appears to be App…

Nokia Headquarters in Finland
photo: Corbis / Joel W. Rogers

A trial has started for one of the many patent infringement lawsuits pending in the smartphone industry. The initial loser appears to be Apple (NSDQ: AAPL).

The staff of the U.S. International Trade Commission has found that Nokia (NYSE: NOK) shouldn’t be found liable of infringing Apple’s patents. “The evidence will not establish a violation” the staff wrote in a pre-hearing memo released yesterday, Bloomberg reports.

Apple is asking the ITC to block imports of Nokia phones into the U.S., claiming it is infringing on four Apple patents. As a refresher, these same hearings will be heard for a number of companies that take issues with patent portfolios: Nokia is also challenging Apple’s patents, Apple is suing HTC and Motorola (NYSE: MOT) over phones using Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Android, and Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) has a case against Motorola.

While the staff is saying that Nokia shouldn’t be found liable, the judge won’t be obligated to follow the staff’s position. His ruling is subject to review by the six-member commission, which is scheduled to occur by June.

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