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Nokia's New Patent Complaint

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
12/29/2009

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is going to the U.S. International Trade Commission in the a new phase of its multi-patent spat with smartphone rival Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL). (See Nokia Fires Volley at Apple's iPhone .)

The Finnish handset vendor filed a complaint with the ITC Tuesday, alleging that Apple infringes on Nokia patents in virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players, and computers. The No. 1 mobile phone maker in the world claims that Apple is infringing on its patents for user interface -- as well as camera, antenna, and power management -- technologies.

Nokia's says in a statement that these patents "allow better user experience, lower manufacturing costs, smaller size and longer battery life for Nokia products." (See Nokia Asks ITC to Bite Apple.)

Nokia is already pursuing a patent case against Apple in Delaware, alleging that Apple's iPhone infringes on some of Nokia's underlying wireless IPR. Specifically, this case centers on 10 Nokia patents related to GSM, 3G Wideband-CDMA, and wireless LAN radio technologies. (See Nokia Throws Book at the iPhone.)

So, Nokia's complaint to the ITC represents an expansion of its patent disputes with Apple. "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," states Paul Melin, general manager of patent licensing at Nokia.

Apple hasn't yet responded to Nokia's latest complaint. The iPhone maker, however, counter-sued Nokia on Dec. 11 over the original Delaware case. Apple claimed that Nokia is infringing on 13 of its patents. (See The Google iPhone Spat .)

Apple has become a more serious smartphone rival to Nokia in the last couple of years. Nokia is still the top dog in overall phone sales, but lost market share to Apple and BlackBerry in the smartphone segment this year. (See Nokia Reports Q3.)

Nokia's share of the smartphone market fell from 41 percent in the second quarter of 2009 to 35 percent in the third quarter. Apple sold 7.4 million iPhones in the September quarter, up 7 percent on the same quarter last year. (See iPhone Sales Soar.)

Nokia is no stranger to legal disputes in the U.S. Nokia ended a long-term patent battle with Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) in July 2008. (See More Nokia vs Qualcomm and MWC: The Suesome Twosome .) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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