Nokia Sues Apple Over iPhone

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

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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.

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