Blog Post

Nokia Sues Apple Over iPhone

Mobile phone giant Nokia (s nok) declared an intellectual property war against Apple (s aapl) today, alleging the iPhone infringes on 10 patents relating to wireless technologies and standards.


Of course, the lawsuit has nothing to do with Nokia losing smartphone market share to Apple, as the chart from AdMob indicates (Nokia owns Symbian OS), and the legal action couldn’t possibly have anything to do with Nokia’s latest earnings report. Last quarter, the mobile phone maker lost $832 million, sales declining 20 percent year over year. No, Nokia is going after Apple on “principle.”

The patents in question relate to GSM, UMTS, and wireless LAN standards covering “wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption.” Nokia states that more than 40 companies have entered into licensing agreements, but not “unprincipled” Apple.

According to Ilkka Rahnasto, VP of Legal & Intellectual Property at Nokia, it is a “basic principle” in the industry that those contributing to technological development be compensated. Apple is “attempting to get a free ride on the back of Nokia’s innovation.” Supposedly, every iPhone introduced since 2007 uses technology that infringes on Nokia patents.

Considering Nokia didn’t sue Apple in 2007 and seek an injunction to stop the iPhone from being sold, it’s likely this lawsuit is a way of moving stalled royalty negotiations forward. Apple will probably settle. A guess of $10 per iPhone in royalties would be $210 million to date, not an insignificant amount, and a little less profit off each iPhone going forward, but someone has to help Nokia innovate.

34 Responses to “Nokia Sues Apple Over iPhone”

  1. Afzal

    Well, if the boot was on the foot – !
    When you do wrong – you pay the price. Nokia did warn Apple initially. The arrogant behaviour demonstrated by the Apple board simply wanted to ignore the problem and their accountability.
    1.> the problem has not gone away
    2.> it will rightfully bite them on the arse
    3.> lets hope it is a hefty $500m+
    That should teach them and others – lets be fair.

    Remember – if it was you – what would YOU do?
    (Btw: repeated slowly, it rhymes – perhaps Nokia could make a ring-tone’ out of this -> my fee = USD $1.12m only!)
    I have 43 iPads if anyone is interested in buying

  2. Oo Common Andre! come to daddy:D It’s about the power of Apple Inc. With only one smart phone they are simply on top Nokia and that’s the reality Nokia can’t accept it! You know about the Apple tech and you can not deny it.

  3. what’s up with the ironic tone? apple can’t be sued? this type of fanatical articles are really annoying.

    so apple infringes nokia patents, refuse to pay for 2 years, nokia decide to sue and you think nokia are ridicule? swap apple with nokia in the previous sentence and see if you still feel the same.

    i like apple and macs but slightly more objective writing wouldn’t be bad.

  4. It’s important to note that the AdMob stats you quote aren’t market share.
    AdMob counts the number of adverts it serves to particular types of phones. So if users of a particular phone are on unlimited data plans – as most iPhone users are – or if AdMob is particularly strong in advertising iPhone-only applications – which it is – then it would look like Apple has a larger share of the market than it has.
    For sales figures, you’d be better looking to a research company like Gartner. The top five smartphone vendors in Q2 2009: Nokia (45 percent); Research in Motion (18.7 percent); Apple (13.3 percent); HTC (6.0 percent); Fujitsu (3.0 percent); others (13.9 percent).
    Yes apple is gaining share, and Nokia is probably concerned about it, but they’re not neck and neck in smartphones as suggested by the stats quoted. Also smartphones are only about 14 percent of the cell-phone market, so how much market share is Nokia really losing to Apple?
    Nokia isn’t the first company to sue Apple. And Apple isn’t adverse to a bit of legal action itself. Is this a lot more serious than what we commonly see in the tech business? What do the legal experts say?
    Whatever you think, you’ve got to respect Nokia for how they’ve managed it – look at all the free PR they milked out of it and the case hasn’t even started yet.

    • Whether its derivative statistics from AdMob or Net Applications, or actual numbers from NPD or IDG or whoever, all point in the same direction for Nokia’s market share: down. As for the lawsuit itself, perhaps it’s just the self-righteous indignation that I found so amusing and deserving of ridicule. Two years ago, Nokia was calling Qualcomm a “serial litigator” over patent lawsuits directed against Nokia. So much for principles.

    • Thanks for pointing this out – I think putting the Admob chart out there without this background information is a little deceptive. I know, this is an Apple blog but the RDF might not necessarily work beyond Infinity Loop ; )

    • Just have to love the way this post was written. Would you care to publish the actual numbers on smartphones sold, would you? Just for the sake of the argument. It’d bring clarity, and would fill the objectivity people usually require when reading news.

      Here, have this one. If I read the chart correctly, Nokia has lost market share, yes. Yet the amount of sold SMARTPHONES has risen. Not to the level of iPhone, oh no. RiM has gained as well hugely. But it still is a rise of 700k units, wouldn’t you agree?

      You are making things look bleaker for Nokia than they really are, you know? Also, getting stats that support your statement is all nice and good, IF you are to create posts that indeed are omitting parts of the whole matter.

      Also, about the case itself, suing and whatnot, go take a look at Apple court history. It’s FAR worse than what Nokia has ever done. Believe me in this. I do remember this case against Cisco, for example…

  5. That’s like software patents in the USA. Absolute nonsense. It’s a market where so many people are working, they often have the same ideas. But one is the first to patent it.

  6. Nokia and Apple have been negotiating since iPhone came out in 2007..
    Negotiations have just broken down.
    Every other handset manufacturer pays license fees for Nokia patents.
    Apple just think they are above the law, that’s all…

    • And just look at all the iPhone-wannabes out there. You don’t think other companies are withholding or ignoring Apple’s patents on its phone?

      Welcome to the ballgame, sport!