Nokia sues Apple over patent infringement

23 Oct 2009

Finnish mobile-phone manufacturer Nokia yesterday filed a lawsuit in a US district court against Apple, for infringement relating to 10 separate patents involving the iPhone handset.

The patents are related to GSM, wireless LAN, security, encryption and data transfer over wireless networks, and UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System).

Nokia alleges that while it already licenses these technologies to other companies, Apple has incorporated them into the iPhone handset without permission or paying for the right to use them.

Nokia may have case

According to Yahoo Tech, Tero Kuittinen, an analyst with MKM Partners, says Nokia quite likely has a case.

“Plenty of companies come to handset manufacturing and don’t pay for all the IP in early years. Several Asian vendors started paying GSM licence fees years after they began manufacturing GSM phones.”

This opinion chimes with CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber, who told “Nokia’s enormous patent portfolio doesn’t make this a big surprise, but it could have severe repercussions for Apple and its component supplier.

“Once again, intellectual property has become the secondary battleground in a highly competitive mobile-phone market,” he added.

Royalty payment

Analysts, including Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray, say this is not a case of Nokia seeking an injunction against Apple using this technology, but rather looking for royalty payment for use of its patented technology.

“Nokia is likely looking to obtain a patent royalty of 1-2pc ($6 to $12) on every iPhone sold in compensation for its IPs concerning GSM, 3G and Wi-Fi technologies on mobile devices,” said Munster.

By Marie Boran

Photo: Nokia may be looking to obtain a patent royalty from Apple.