Nokia: Everything Apple Makes Violates Our Patents

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Nokia filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission on Tuesday that alleges nearly every Apple product violates its patents. The complaint claims that Mac computers, the iPhone and the iPod all infringe on Nokia's patents.

Nokia filed a lawsuit against Apple in October over allegations that technology used in the iPhone infringed on its patents related to GSM, UMTS and WLAN standards. The case, which was filed in Federal District Court in Delaware, claimed Apple hasn't payed licensing fees for the wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption technologies used in the iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.

"Companies who contribute in technology development to establish standards create intellectual property, which others then need to compensate for. Apple is also expected to follow this principle," commented Ilkka Rahnasto, Nokia's Vice President of Legal and Intellectual Property.

Apple fired back with its own patent infringement suit against Nokia in early December. Bruce Sewell, General Counsel and senior vice president for Apple, said in a statement, "Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours."

Even though Nokia's ITC filing relates to the same technologies, the company doesn't see the action as redundant to its earlier law suit. "This action is about protecting the results of such pioneering development," commented Paul Melin, Nokia's General Manager of Patent Licensing. "While our litigation in Delaware is about Apple's attempt to free-ride on the back of Nokia investment in wireless standards, the ITC case filed today is about Apple's practice of building its business on Nokia's proprietary innovation."

Comments

Jeff Gamet

If the Mac, iPod and iPhone all include technologies that violate Nokia patents, maybe Nokia should’ve mentioned more than just the iPhone in its October filing.

Tiger

If Apple has stolen “everything Nokia”, why hasn’t Nokia ever complained or filed lawsuits about it before? Don’t you have to protect your patent to keep it yours? The iPhone is more than 2 years old, the iPhone 3G a 3Gs now a year and nearly a year. WTF took so long? Is it that they realize they’re losing their turf war in the wireless domain? Or should I say they’re losing their dominance and having their stones handed to them on a silver platter?

It will surely be interesting to see how this all plays out. When Titans clash, nobody goes uninjured.

Bill Bixby

Apple should buy Nokia.

daemon

And the lawsuit just becomes more expensive for Apple.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

If the Soviets have nuclear weapons, why haven’t they used them? Well guess what guys. Now they’re using them.

This next year looks to be a good time to start Psystar version 2.0, simply focussing on providing paid support for people wanting to stick Mac OS X on their netbooks. Evolve little animals, thrive little animals, while the big animals battle it out!

Tiger

Did somebody detonate a thermonuclear bomb while I was gone for the holidays? I guess I missed that one.

Hope you had a great Christmas Bosco. 2010 should be a very interesting year for sure!

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Tiger, you asked why Nokia sat back and waited. You can do that with patents. Hate the game, not the playuh.

We had a wonderful Apple-free Christmas. The first in over 20 years where no Apple branded product was exchanged in my family. There were a couple Wacom Pen & Touch tablets exchanged. That is a freakin’ amazing device. I remember spending close to $1000 on an 8” by 8” Wacom tablet around 1996 and my artist (my sister) having to learn two tons of patience for the thing to keep up with her. P&T was $85 from Amazon and is just amazing. With the lowering of the price of the ModBook, I’m really thinking hard about it.

Ref Librarian

Why not? Hate the playuh I mean? Are the Soviets using nuclear weapons now? Could you post a link to that story, please?

Tiger

Glad it was a good Christmas. We had a great one too. Since it’s better to give than get, I gave LOTS this year. I gave my brother in law a 20 LCD to replace his dead one in their kitchen and I gave the family an LG Blu-Ray Player. But we all got lots of nice stuff too. My niece got an iPhone. She’s wanted one from day one, but they made her wait 2 years to show she could be responsible with one. She had a Verizon thing that crapped out on her. Within 2 hours, she had apps, was citing sources on claims (yeah, she gets that whole idea) and providing hours of useful/less knowledge to the rest of the family.

I had a Wacom tablet once, but it was really quirky. Sometime back in the early 90s. I think it was about $400 then. I guess my next tablet will be whatever this iSlate/iTablet/iTableau comes out. Maybe. Maybe not. My desktop is a 7 year old G4. I think I’ll replace it first. A maxed out Mini comes in just under $900 for me. Already have the screen keyboard, mouse, printers, and backup drives. So just the CPU is the ticket. I love the iMacs, but I don’t need another screen. And since Windows and Linux run under Parallels (have that at work if anything non-Mac based comes up), it will do just fine. One machine, many desktops. It’s my solution. Not for everybody, but works for me.

craigf

The real patent story behind Nokia vs Apple vs Nokia vs Apple
http://tinyurl.com/ycnsv7s

geoduck

Thanks craigf that fills in a lot of blanks.
Sounds like Nokia is the one being the real d*****d in this.

Ref Librarian

Thank you, Craig. That was very informative.

daemon

craigf, if you can’t be bothered to post an actual opinion, don’t post a link to a blog that has nothing to do with TMO. You wana promote that blog on this site? Take out an ad!

furbies

craigf, if you can?t be bothered to post an actual opinion, don?t post a link to a blog that has nothing to do with TMO. You wana promote that blog on this site? Take out an ad!

Dude! Take a deep breath and calm down

craigf was just posting a like to some background material.
What’s wrong with that ?

Ref Librarian

Daemon, why don’t you address the topic with your next post? I’m sure that you have an opinion, too and we’d all like to hear it.

gslusher

craigf, if you can?t be bothered to post an actual opinion, don?t post a link to a blog that has nothing to do with TMO. You wana promote that blog on this site? Take out an ad!

Would you like some cheese with that whine?

daemon

Daemon, why don?t you address the topic with your next post? I?m sure that you have an opinion, too and we?d all like to hear it.

Fighting this lawsuit will cost Apple more than just paying the $300 million that Nokia was asking for in royalties.

Ref Librarian

So you believe that it is best to pay blackmail? Do you think that other companies will come forward with their hands out for more, too, if it is paid?

daemon

So you believe that it is best to pay blackmail? Do you think that other companies will come forward with their hands out for more, too, if it is paid?

Calling royalties “blackmail” is pure delusion.

Oh, and I expect Apple to pay each and every patent holder their royalties.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

One obvious flaw with that article (which has been posted in prior Nokia threads) is that it confounds the rights conferred by the state in a patent with a collective agreement about process of a non-governmental standards body. The penalty for not playing by the rules of the standards body is not losing the patent. The penalty is in reputation dealing with future standards bodies, perhaps. Yeah, perhaps.

When anyone dealing with IP starts piling on rhetoric about stealing or theft, they are overplaying their hand and digging in. Everyone involved knows damned well that there are flaws in the system that lean heavily toward litigation. You can’t even challenge the validity of a patent without going to court. Both sides are armed to the teeth and hell bent on drawing blood. As daemon said, nobody will come out of this uninjured. The first big casualty will be Apple having any moral ground whatsoever to IP. Business ground, of course, but nobody will be outraged that someone stole from Apple when it becomes clear that Apple plays the same games as everyone else.

Ref Librarian

alling royalties ?blackmail? is pure delusion.

Oh, and I expect Apple to pay each and every patent holder their royalties./quote]

When Nokia has to pay Apple higher royalties in return and they exchange checks, it won’t be blackmail either. When a company has to dig into their pockets to pay more to another company, you know that is going to be passed on to all the people who buy the products. I expect Apple to try very hard to get as much as they can out of Nokia first so that their products cost more too.

daemon

When Nokia has to pay Apple higher royalties in return and they exchange checks, it won?t be blackmail either. When a company has to dig into their pockets to pay more to another company, you know that is going to be passed on to all the people who buy the products. I expect Apple to try very hard to get as much as they can out of Nokia first so that their products cost more too.

Maybe you’re right. Maybe at the end of the day Nokia will pay Apple more. But it’s still going to cost Apple more to fight this battle than just paying the stupid royalties to Nokia.

B9robot

Stupid is as stupid does. How stupid is Nokia? How stupid does Nokia think Apple is?
Come on Nokia, you can do better than that.
Apple has patents on there products too. Apple invests Billions in R&D, more than any PC maker. For Nokia to claim Apple has violated its patents for everything it makes is totally ridiculous!!! And I’m sure the courts will find it unfounded.
I find the whole suit Stupid.

Khaled

“If there is something good in the world then we copy with pride”
Anssi Vanjoki (Nokia?s Executive VP)


smile

jfbiii

Fighting this lawsuit will cost Apple more than just paying the $300 million that Nokia was asking for in royalties.

Except that’s not what Nokia wants. What Nokia wants is a cross-license for Apple’s patent portfolio in return. Apple would probably have ponied up a fair licensing fee for “standards” tech covered by Nokia patents. But gutting their IP portfolio by handing it over to a competitor to use makes no business sense at all. Nokia is ultimately trying to extract a premium from apple for tech that it already licenses to all comers since it is part of a “standard.”

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@jfbill… Maybe you can help me understand something here. In the Psystar case, many of the commenters here say that the EULA term that ties Mac OS X to Apple labeled hardware is legitimate because Apple made billions of dollars of investment in the software and is entitled to license it how it wants. In particular, Apple is not obligated to license the Mac OS X to cloners like Psystar. I assume that Nokia has invested at least hundreds if not thousands of dollars in its IP covered by those patents. So why isn’t Nokia entitled to decide to whom it wishes to license the patents and under what terms? It just doesn’t seem consistent with me to side so strongly with Apple in the Psystar case and not side with Nokia in this case.

gslusher

So why isn?t Nokia entitled to decide to whom it wishes to license the patents and under what terms?

Because the patents involved in the original suit are part of the GSM standard, as well as UMTS and 802.11 wifi. (IOW, they are necessary for GSM phones to work.) Nokia and other companies with critical GSM patents have agreed to FRAND—Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory licensing. Apparently, Nokia was demanding much more from Apple than the other companies it licenses to. That is discriminatory. There is a concise definition of “Non-Discriminatory” in the Wikipedia article. There are other articles and white papers available, as well

Daniel Eran Dilger of Roughly Drafted has a much better explanation of this than I could possible muster.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

What I still don’t understand here is even if Nokia committed to FRAND, if Apple failed to reach a licensing agreement with Nokia, why it isn’t stealing for Apple to go ahead and use the patents. This really sounds a lot like a whiney kid (Apple) throwing a tantrum because Mom (Nokia) promised to take him out for ice cream but decided to skip ice cream and come home to watch Real Housewives of Wyoming reruns instead. Except Apple willfully and obviously violated a whole slew of patents along the way.

The patents are rights granted by the state. They’re going to trump agreements with standards bodies. I have a feeling that the only way that FRAND will matter in the end is in assessing damages. The ITC moves much faster than federal court, and it will just look at the obvious and willful patent infringement. A commenter at Engadget noted that the US market is 80-ish percent for Apple’s iPhone, while just 20% of Nokia’s worldwide market. So if both get wiped out by the ITC, Apple is the only one really wiped out. Sure, Apple might be entirely in the right because of FRAND, but it will take years to vindicate Apple (key point ahead) which is why Nokia is in a position to demand more for licensing its patents to Apple. Duh! Negotiating 101 folks.

jfbiii

If Nokia is due licensing payments for tech, then it is stealing. If the cost of this tech is well established by payments from others, then Apple’s decision to let the courts sort things out and market their product anyway is a calculated risk based on what they see as anti-competitive behavior on Nokia’s part. After all, Nokia (unlike Apple with cloners) pursued a business course that allowed it to profit from “cloners” rather than profit from the lack of them. Now that one of them has tech that Nokia badly desires free access to, they’re essentially withholding something for which automatic licensing is routinely conferred. You can’t put that cat back in the bag without being accused of anti-competitive behavior. If Nokia wanted to play that game (as Apple has done) then they could have built the whole widget and not licensed the tech to anyone. They, like Apple in computers, would probably occupy a much smaller but still profitable market niche in which they sold the whole widget.

Conceptually, there’s not much to this story. Nokia wants to negate Apple’s competitive advantage by being able to freely rip-off the iPhone UI and so it has decided to do so by inventing a controversy where there isn’t one. Absent a successful product, Apple would be granted fair licensing terms as quickly as they could print a check, which is all that Nokia asks of other licensees.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

If the cost of this tech is well established by payments from others, then Apple?s decision to let the courts sort things out and market their product anyway is a calculated risk based on what they see as anti-competitive behavior on Nokia?s part.

There are other standards where an independent organization handles licensing of the patent portfolio. MPEG-LA comes to mind as a stellar example. In the absence of a licensing implementation body, it just seems risky to knowingly and willingly violate the claims of a patent and expect, after the fact, to be able to reach a licensing agreement at the typical price! And again, when Apple violates others’ IP, it’s a “calculated risk”. When people violate Apple’s IP, it’s “stealing”. I should get a patent on this fanboy litmus test grin.

And seriously… If you have 20% market share, no judge in the world is going to buy any argument that you behave ant-competitively. Alsup pretty much made that point in the Psystar ruling! Child, please!

jfbiii

“Child please?” Excuse me. If you weren’t so concentrated on being a rude prick and actually took the time to read the Roughly Drafted article (which very thoughtfully collects the entirety of the story in one place) you might understand that what Nokia has done is specifically withhold patents that are part of a standards portfolio.

If you weren’t so concentrated on being a rude prick, you would have read my entire post, the first sentence of which stated: “If Nokia is due licensing payments for tech, then it is stealing.”

The only things worse than a troll is one who can’t even bother to read or one who lacks the basic cognitive skills to comprehend what he has read.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Bosco the resident “rude pr*ck” (Alan A. would love your language) is simply pointing out the main flaw with the Roughly Drafted article. While Nokia may or may not have agreed to a particular licensing practice to get its tech into an industry standard, enforcement of its patents supersedes enforcement of that FRAND agreement. The ITC will not give a rat’s ascii about what Nokia promised or whether it negotiated in good faith. The ITC will act much quicker than a federal judge will act to completely sort things out. Which is why this is very dangerous for Apple that this has moved into ITC turf, and why a wise Apple would just blink and cross-license its patents with Nokia. Uncertainty is too high, potential damage is too great to Apple at too low a cost to Nokia. And Apple has already lost its moral high ground that it requires for other portions of its IP by shipping a product before securing rights to use Nokia’s patents.

I don’t personally mind the smack-talk and name-calling, but there are a few grandmothers here who don’t like the foul language. I think we can all strive to be sensitive to them while vigorously defending our opinions.

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