back to article Nokia sues Apple in European courts

Nokia has filed for patent infringement against Apple in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, claiming ownership of more smartphone fundamentals. The UK filing, for example, covers four patents, including ways of using touch interfaces and on-device application stores. In Germany Nokia is filing twice, in Dusseldorf and …


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  1. dogged

    Go Finland!

    Jobs decided to kick the wrong company on this one.

    Nokia can show prior art on pretty much everything mobile.

    1. Ramazan

      Nokia can show prior art on pretty much everything mobile

      including the art of producing ugly bulky useless cheaply plastic phones year by year

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge


      Apple have been in computing since the early days of home computing.

      For every patent on a "smartphone" there is likely to be prior art in the computing world.

      After all, the smartphone concept is just a small computer (PDA?) in a phone.

      Nokia's patents just show the problem with patents, they are supposed to help small businesses develop new ideas and prevent competitors stealing these ideas until the company developing them has built up sales and established the product.

      In this case it is a company going downhill fast who want some cash from Apple.

      The Apple Newton implemented many "smartphone" principles long before Nokia's communicator appeared.

      But the company who really can claim credit for the Smartphone is IBM:

      So Nokia should just STFU.

      1. RegisterThis

        Agree re: this, but part of a bigger game started by Apple ...

        I agree that some of this stuff is lame (most software stuff is!), but the original patents regarding some of the radio stuff is not. I suspect this is part of the game for Nokai to get paid their dues there.

        As Nokia pointed out at the time they first filed:

        - They spent billions on R&D for the radios and protocal stacks. That is not just a patent for a 'software method to do X,Y,Z by checking A, B and C and correlating with input Y in software' ... but stuff that took labs, expensive equipment and highly trained experts from multiple disciplines and real world tests to develop that has real impact i.e. you can or you cannot connect (... something Apple doesn't actually care about!)

        - This was spent over 20 years. These radio and protocol patents are not just software algorithms that somebody designed for a touch UI and a few spotty nerds build a prototype for in a few days. It is stuff involving interaction with many bits of other equipment and costing a lot in terms of building and refining.

        - Regarding the radio stuff they were suing for, they are being paid royalties for by most of the other manufacturers ... if the other manufacturers recognise that there mobile handset is based on other peoples long and costly R&D, why can't Apple? Freeloading is the word that comes to mind!

    3. hexx
      Thumb Down


      it was nokia who sued apple first

    4. kain preacher

      up next

      Apple sues Motorla and Texas Instruments , who then proceeded to mop the floor with apple over DSP and radio patents. Sounds absurd ? What do you think suing Nokia sounds like ?

    5. Wile E. Veteran

      And the rest

      of the broad,, basic mobile communications patents are probably owned by Motorola.

    6. alwarming
      Paris Hilton


      Most of you must've seen that diagram which shows everybody is suing everybody else in the smartphone world. Very soon, they are going to some some sort of patent cartel by cross-licensing agreement (like x86 world) and all the court cases will be retracted. This will keep any new players out.

      However - what is still an open question for these phone-peddlers is how much cross licensing fee they will pay/charge each other - that will depend on the quality and quantity of patents.. that's what nokia is trying to show apple/other vendors.

      Apple, the most successful player (by profit), has maximum to lose. And that's why pretty much everyone will try to corner them. Patents cost a lot and anybody with half the talent can write one - which is generic enough to hold up in court for a hearing at least. That's the business dynamics of the IP law - and to be frank I don't think it's gonna change anytime soon. or ever. (even if they succeed in weeding out software patents).

      Paris, coz she keeps hers in vibrate mode.

  2. Ammaross Danan

    I'll be the first to say...

    ...Apple asked for it by suing others first. You know, because people should innovate and not just steal others IP.

    /mines the one with flame retardant on it

  3. JaitcH

    The side effects might be beneficial: international patent standards?

    The disparity between patent legislation world-wide is, IMO, what is driving this mess of litigation.

    In the U.S. you can patent a wet dream whereas in other jurisdictions you physically need to demonstrate the patent actually working.

    Apple recently patented some real old ideas: hotel and travel reservations screens which clearly have been in the public domain for years, if not decades - so all they can expect is litigation.

    Another patent was placing AM, FM and entertainment satellite receiver inside a cell phone. Given that satellite frequencies dictate certain physical parameters and that integrated circuitry has about hit the buffers in size reduction, it will be hard to physically reproduce this without enlarging a cell phone case. Anyone who has a satellite entertainment receiver can attest to this poor reception in diminutive receivers, unless you live in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    One 'feature' was mapping the radio stations. Guess what, I have a older cell that does this already although it didn't use an InterNet-based database to obtain it's mapping. Stations can be input manually or automatically.

    So what does this Apple patent bring to the table? Litigation, for a start. Almost all prior art.

    Patents need a much shorter life span, too.

    Then again, there is the disproportionate power exerted by the U.S., whose politics are driven by election funding. To get the votes needed for international agreement encompassing all it's views, as amply demonstrated in the Wikileaks cables, it would simply buy support, as it has in the past, even though it is technically bankrupt.

    Perhaps the EU needs to establish a common patent standard with the rules enforced by a EU patent court. Then a single voice, with more bodies behind it, can talk on equal terms with the U.S.

  4. mark l 2 Silver badge

    software patents in europe?

    Forgive my ignorance but some of these sound like software patents which afaik aren't enforceable in Europe or had something changed?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    an "attack" on multiple fronts

    Different patents in different courts? Are some of these possible reasons.

    Avoid getting all the patent issues lumped together in one heap/suit

    Reduce chances of having all the hearings in front of a single judge/panel who end up favouring one side for all the issues.

    Make Apple split up its legal team - dilute its capabilities or just to make the suits more than a single manager can get his head around (magic factor 7 if I recall)

    Apply different resources behind different patents - one or more are feints or diversions from a suit that they particularly want to win

    Piss Apple off

    Bring employment across Europe for lawyers.

    Bring employment across Europe for translators

    Under OHIM (European IP office) original patents were filed in two languages and these are the matching ones?

  6. Brian Miller 1

    Probably a Deft Legal Manouver

    By choosing different countries the law and ways of operating in court all have subtle differences. Obviously Nokia fighting near their home turf makes a lot of sense. They will have multi-lingual specialists and will surely know all the best IP attorneys and approaches for each country.

    Also their offices are nearby, hence the costs incurred in bringing witnesses/inventors to trial etc. will be greatly reduced compared to apple.

    All in all it just makes life a lot more difficult and expensive for apples legal team.

    GO! NOKIA!!!!

  7. Anonymous Coward

    FM has nothing to do with FOSS

    "But Florian Mueller, of the FOSS,"

    Florian Mueller is gun for hire, and he has nothing to do with FOSS (although he wants people to think opposite). He is "intelectual property advocate", as he described on his site, and he is supportive of software patents. Nobody takes him seriously any more and I don't know why EL reg gives him publicity.

  8. Arctic fox

    As far as I am aware.......

    ....Nokia's reputation does not include "patent trolling" as we normally understand the expression.. Given their hinterland from the earliest days of the smartphone era (somewhat before Apple even dreamed the dream about iPhone) I suspect that Nokia would only be willing to go to the mattresses in this situation if they genuinely believed that they had a good case.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Its Mobile Phone Top Trumps !

    They just can't stop playin...........Who's got the better mobile !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Phone or computer

      I think the answer is Nokia. Trying using the iPhone as a mobile PHONE - it sucks. And as a personal computer it is locked down and stripped of functionality...

  10. ratfox

    Well, one thing that is certain...

    Nokia might not be very good or successful, depending on your definitions, but they are NOT a patent troll.

  11. airmanchairman

    The Motive is not Money

    I've said before, and will say it again: Nokia's motive in suing Apple is not money - otherwise both teams of negotiators would have happily agreed by now on what constitutes a FRAND (Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) patent fee for technologies infringing.

    The intention all along has been to get some form of legal constraint and worldwide sales ban (similar to what NTP obtained in its complaint against RIM in 2006) to hold up the global Apple juggernaut - and even then Nokia may still hold out for unreasonable terms.

    What Nokia is looking for is time to play catch up, but instead of moving faster, they are attempting to slow down the opposition. What about Android? WP7? How long can this strategy hold off the inevitability of losing overall primacy in the cellular handset market to the faster and more innovative game-changers in the market?

    1. kain preacher

      @The Motive is not Money

      That would make sense if Nokia sued first , but they didn't. Apple Sued first and now Nokia is going to screw with Apple.

  12. Michael 10


    Would you really want to claim you thought of apple's antenna design first?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Antenna?

      Easy one.

      Imagine you've just blown a load of R&D time and money on making a new antenna and it proves to be a heap of shit. Do you:

      a) Take a deep swig from the Flagon of Fail, write it off and consider it a learning experience?

      b) Patent it in the hope that someone nicks it, so you can sue the living crap out of them and recoup some of your costs?

      1. Arctic fox

        That of course implies that Apple.....

        ....were so stupid in (according to this hypothesis) adopting the external antenna that they deserve to be sued and lose. Somehow I doubt that St SJ's cognoscenti would agree with this view!

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