Apple Intends "Vigorous" Defense Against Nokia Suit

Apple Inc. intends to defend itself vigorously against a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Nokia according to the company's annual 10-K filing for fiscal 2009. Nokia filed suit against Apple in October alleging the iPhone infringed upon some ten separate patents Nokia owns.

This marks one of the first public comments from Apple regarding the case - SEC regulations require publicly traded firms to disclose risks to the public, and Apple routinely lists all lawsuits in which the company is involved in its quarterly and annual filings.

In the case of the Nokia suit, Apple noted that its response to the court is not yet due, but said, "The Company intends to defend the case vigorously." It may or may not be material, but the 10-K filing only mentions a vigorous legal defense twice, even though it is involved in some 47 patent infringement suits (27 of which were filed in 2009).

The first mention is when offering a general description of the many suits in which it is involved. "At present," Apple wrote in its filing, "the Company is vigorously defending more than 47 patent infringement cases." The only other declaration of a vigorous defense is in the description of Nokia's allegations of patent infringement.

At issue could be many millions -- or more -- in licensing fees Apple would need to pay to Nokia should it lose the case.