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Summary:

Nokia filed claims against HTC, Research In Motion and Viewsonic in both the U.S. and Germany, saying that 45 Nokia patents were infringed. Why are the mobile patent wars raging? Major innovation is slowing down in this market; now the battles are in the courts.

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Nokia has long developed technologies used in feature phones and smartphones; now it has decided to bring a lawsuit against some it alleges are infringing on those patents. The company filed claims against HTC, Research In Motion and Viewsonic in both the U.S. and Germany on Wednesday, saying that nearly four dozen patents were infringed.

Some of the 45 patent claims include the following technologies, per Nokia’s press release:

“Nokia proprietary innovations protected by these patents are being used by the companies to enable hardware capabilities such as dual function antennas, power management and multimode radios, as well as to enhance software features including application stores, multitasking, navigation, conversational message display, dynamic menus, data encryption and retrieval of email attachments on a mobile device.”

One of my 16 mobile predictions of 2012 was that the mobile patent wars would get far, far worse this year and that seems to be holding true. Why did I pick 2012 for this thought, even though the prior two years had their share of patent scuffles? I noticed that major innovation in this hardware market was slowing down and that competitors were finally gaining parity with each other for smartphones, by replicating similar features and functions.

The real innovation of the current smartphone era began in 2007 with Apple’s first iPhone. Since then, it’s been a game of catch up that’s been mostly played out at this point. And it seems that when you can’t innovate, you litigate.

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  1. I think you’re doing Nokia a disservice. They had the vision that all of these things would happen, and almost every feature of note on a iPhone was on a Nokia first. The difference is that apple made these features easy to find and use, rather than four layers deep in a menu ad Nokia often did.

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