The United States International Trade Commission has decided to pursue an investigation into possible patent violations on Apple's part based on a complaint cell phone maker Nokia filed in December 2009. As part of its complaint, Nokia requested that the ITC block Apple from importing and selling most of the products the company makes.
According to the ITC, "The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain electronic devices, including mobile phones, portable music players, and computers that infringe patents asserted by Nokia. The complainants request that the USITC issue an exclusion order and a cease and desist order."
Nokia claimed that Apple is using patent protected technologies wireless technologies in its laptop lineup, the iPod and the iPhone without paying licensing fees. Apple responded to the allegations by filing its own ITC complaint alleging that Nokia is violating patents it owns, too.
Along with their ITC complaints, both companies have filed patent infringement lawsuits against each other.
"By refusing to agree appropriate terms for Nokia's intellectual property, Apple is attempting to get a free ride on the back of Nokia's innovation," commented Ilkka Rahnasto, Nokia's Vice President of Legal & Intellectual Property.
Apple's suit against Nokia claimed the cell phone maker violated 13 patents it owns, but didn't specify which patents were involved. "Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours." saind Bruce Sewell, General Counsel and senior vice president for Apple.
The ITC hasn't said how long it expects its investigation to take.