Apple Sues Nokia over Mobile Technology

Apple announced that it is countersuing Nokia, claiming it is infringing 13 Apple patents.

“Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours,” said Bruce Sewell, Apple’s General Counsel and senior vice president in a terse press release.

In the suit filed in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, Apple claimed Nokia is wrongfully using 13 of its patents. The claim seeks an order barring Nokia from infringing and for unspecified damages.

“Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours,” Bruce Sewell, Cupertino, California-based Apple’s general counsel, said in a statement.

Nokia, the world’s largest phone maker, sued Apple in October claiming infringement of 10 patents and seeking back royalties on the 33.7 million iPhones sold since the device’s introduction in 2007. Espoo, Finland-based Nokia had said that all Apple iPhone models use Nokia’s technology for wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption.

Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant said the counterclaim doesn’t change the “fundamentals” of the original patent infringement suit.

“We will need time to study it before we make any direct comment,” Durrant said in a telephone interview. “But it changes nothing in the fundamentals of the original filing made by Nokia in Delaware.”

Nokia is seeking royalties for the patents that have been infringed with the Apple iPhone, Apple iPhone 3G and Apple iPhone 3GS.

Apple’s actions have allowed it to charge less for its products, because it hasn’t had to recover development costs, Nokia said in its complaint. Nokia said it spent about €40 billion ($60.1 billion) during the past two decades in research and development.

Apple sold 7.4 million iPhones in the third quarter. Nokia, with sales in more than 150 countries, delivered 5.7 million touch-screen devices and shipped 108.5 million phones overall in the quarter.

At the time, Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray reported Nokia was looking to collect a 1%-2% patent royalty — worth around $6-$12 — from each iPhone. That’s about $200-400 million from Apple. Couch change for both Apple and Nokia.

Nokia may have been suing Apple to gain access to multi-touch patents, not get money. Mobile strategist Jason Grigsby posited a theory that Nokia would settle for a cross-licensing deal with Apple, gaining access to multi-touch interfaces.

With this new countersuit, it looks like Apple wants to make it clear the companies have been cross-licensing already.

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