Patent Wars return: Nokia and Apple file lawsuits against each other

Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent – whom, Nokia owns – have accused Apple of infringing on thirty-two individual patents, covering technologies that include the user interface, display, antenna, software, chipsets, and video encoding/decoding technology in various Apple devices.

Nokia’s lawsuits span across the world, with some of them being in Germany and the rest, in U.S.

Most of the patents belong to Nokia, but there’s at least one contribution from Alcatel-Lucent, whom Nokia purchased in 2015.

The Apple

Apple has always had sour relations with the rest of industry; the company doesn’t like to follow most standards and is part of patent infringement lawsuits quite often.

The multiple lawsuits from Nokia were, in fact, a reaction to what Apple did. The Cupertino-based company filed a lawsuit against Nokia just yesterday in federal court in San Jose.

Apple is accusing Nokia of violating the U.S. antitrust laws by transferring a “massive numbers of patents” to patent assertion companies, also known as “patent trolls” or PAEs.

A branch of Acacia Research Corp – one such patent troll – recently won a $22.1 million lawsuit against Apple in June this year, using Nokia’s patents.

The Deal

Turning the clock back to 2011, Apple and Nokia agreed upon a settlement – a truce of sorts – that ended the legal battles between both companies raging since 2009. The recent lawsuits seem to have emerged from the cracks, so to speak.

It was a tough time for the lawyers at both companies – the lawsuits spanned the globe, with the settlement being worth “hundreds of millions of euros” to Nokia, according to estimates.

The Lawsuits

Nokia’s recent lawsuits accuse almost every Apple product of patent infringement; from iPhone 7 to all the way back to iPhone 3GS. There’s also iPad Pro, every version of iPad Air and iPad Mini, and even the more recent products like Apple Watch.

Apple TV is also infringing Nokia’s patents; software isn’t spared either – services like Find my iPhone and Find my iPad are also part of the list.

Nokia’s VP, Head of Patent Business, Ilkka Rahnastoin said “Nokia has created or contributed to many of the fundamental technologies used in today’s mobile devices, including Apple products,” in a statement released by Nokia. “After several years of negotiations trying to reach agreement to cover Apple’s use of these patents, we are now taking action to defend our rights,” he continued.

The Nokia

Nokia is an ancient company; its history is a roller coaster of ups and downs – at one point, the company owned the most efficient phone manufacturing business.

Today, the company is merely trying to put the pieces back together; Nokia invented much of the core foundational telecommunications equipment that is used in every mobile device today – that’s what gives Nokia this broad of a range to attack Apple.

Nokia, however, for the good of the industry, is part of several industry associations, that essentially forces them to license their patents as FRAND – Fair, Reasonable, And Non-Discriminatory. Apple is also accusing Nokia of breaching its commitment and contracts to these associations.

Nokia recently announced that they are going to start making smartphones once again, with an expected launch sometime early next year. Hopefully, Nokia will see better days in the future.


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