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Nokia Sues Apple For Patent Infringement In iPhone 367

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-did-it-first dept.
AVee writes "Engadget (amongst many others) reports that Nokia is suing Apple because the iPhone infringes on 10 Nokia patents related to GSM, UTMS and WiFi. While the press release doesn't contain much detail, it does state that Apple didn't agree to 'appropriate terms for Nokia's intellectual property,' which sounds like there have been negotiations about those patents."
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Nokia Sues Apple For Patent Infringement In iPhone

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  • by aesiamun (862627) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @12:23PM (#29837323) Homepage Journal

    Is nokia a patent troll?

    Patent troll is a pejorative term used for a person or company that enforces its patents against one or more alleged infringers in a manner considered unduly aggressive or opportunistic, often with no intention to manufacture or market the patented invention.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_troll [wikipedia.org]

    Doesn't sound like it.

  • Re:Two way street (Score:5, Informative)

    by rm999 (775449) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @12:33PM (#29837495)

    This is largely the point; phone companies gather 100s of patents that cover every aspect of their phones. These patents are often so broad that courts will not uphold them or will force them to be narrowed.

    Still, the lawyers use these patents as a sort of negotiation tool. In this and many other industries, patent lawyers aren't lawyers as much as strategists; for all we know, Nokia is doing this as a defensive method because they know they are infringing on some Apple IP. Or, perhaps, they want some cool multitouch features in their next phone.

    See this article for a fascinating analysis of Apple and Palm's patent war:
    http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/28/apple-vs-palm-the-in-depth-analysis/ [engadget.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 22, 2009 @12:43PM (#29837645)
    In the United States, under current patent law, the term of patent, provided that maintenance fees are paid on time, are: For applications filed on or after June 8, 1995,[1] the patent term is 20 years from the filing date of the earliest U.S. application to which priority is claimed (excluding provisional applications).[2] For applications that were pending on and for patents that were still in force on June 8, 1995, the patent term is either 17 years from the issue date or 20 years from the filing date of the earliest U.S. application to which priority is claimed (excluding provisional applications), the longer term applying.[3] The patent term in the United States was changed in 1995 to bring U.S. patent law into conformity with the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) as negotiated in the Uruguay Round. As a side effect, it is no longer possible to maintain submarine patents in the U.S., since the patent term now depends on the priority date, not the issue date. Design patents, unlike utility patents, have a term of 14 years from the date of issue.[4]
  • Re:Two way street (Score:4, Informative)

    by EvilNTUser (573674) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @12:44PM (#29837657)

    Are you kidding or do you really not know that it's not shipping yet?

    It's funny how Nokia is seen as the evil 500 pound gorilla rather than a 500 pound penguin that puts demoscene videos in its ads [youtube.com].

  • Re:Two way street (Score:5, Informative)

    by INeededALogin (771371) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @12:48PM (#29837733) Journal
    Last I checked the N900 was fairly worthless for connecting to Exchange, which, sad though it may well be, is kind of a critical must-have for a "smart" phone.

    Incorrect sir. N810 lacked an exchange client. The N900 has full support for Exchange just like every other Nokia Smartphone: link [nokiausa.com]
  • Re:Two way street (Score:3, Informative)

    by H.G.Blob (1550325) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @12:48PM (#29837755)

    Two things:
    1)Nokia N900 hasn't been released yet
    2)All Nokia smarphones have had the ability to sync with exchange for a long time.

  • Re:N900 (Score:4, Informative)

    by oh2 (520684) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @12:53PM (#29837833) Homepage Journal
    All the mobile phone companies that do actual work on the technology behind it all like Nokia and SonyEricsson have the hardware patents. The Iphone is a pretty piece of hardware, but the only parts of it that are developed by Apple are the software parts and the physical design. All the protocols and the radio stuff is developed on a whole other level by actual engineers, not the almighty Steve and his designer cohorts :p
  • Re:Two way street (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @12:57PM (#29837907) Journal

    Symbian is such a primitive operating system I doubt its possible for it to infringe any patent that didn't expire 10 years ago.

    It's a realtime microkernel with an event-driven userspace API, a full POSIX implementation. Calling it primitive is quite astonishing.

  • Re:Presumed guilty (Score:5, Informative)

    by realinvalidname (529939) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @01:00PM (#29837937) Homepage

    No, they really are saying exactly that. Look at the sentence: "Endaget is reporting..." (statement of fact) "...that Nokia is suing Apple..." (statement of fact) "...because the iPhone infringes on 10 patents" (statement of fact).

    I used to copy-edit at CNN, and this is a textbook case of convicting someone through sloppy writing. The summary should say "...because Nokia says the iPhone..." or "...because the iPhone allegedly..."

    Of course, the other funny thing is that most every other patent story on Slashdot howls at the ridiculousness of patent cases, if not the implausibility of patents themselves.

  • Re:Two way street (Score:5, Informative)

    by kbrannen (581293) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @01:01PM (#29837951)

    Bullshit. If the Nokia N900 is so good, why are people buying 10x as many iPhones?

    Because the N900 isn't being released until November, so people can't buy it yet. I have one, but then again, I work for Nokia. :)

  • Re:I'll ask it again (Score:3, Informative)

    by EvilNTUser (573674) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @01:07PM (#29838049)

    Who's stopping you from writing an open source OS for a phone you've bought? They're suing a device manufacturer. This isn't a simple case of ridiculous software patents, even though it may turn out some of them have a software component.

  • by INeededALogin (771371) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @01:10PM (#29838085) Journal
    Apple could buy Nokia in cash and a bit of stock.

    These broad statements... No... Apple could not buy Nokia. They may offer their 30 billion in cash, but Nokia would simply turn it down. You don't simply buy a 100 year old company with so much history behind it. Not only that, but Nokia's losses are not in the device sector.

    why would they want to

    Oh, I don't know... tons of patents, Navteq, QT, loads of talented engineers, manufacturing facilities... value is not just last quarter. As it stands, Apple did have a quite a few bad quarters in their past as well.
  • Re:Presumed guilty (Score:3, Informative)

    by INeededALogin (771371) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @01:16PM (#29838177) Journal
    And for the record.....Apple is older then Nokia.

    And for the record..... a google [wikipedia.org] search would of saved you some embarrassment.
  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @01:41PM (#29838481) Journal

    As for the current patent regime's preventing submarine patents, I certainly have heard about dozens of them squeezing money, inhibiting progress, in the past 14 years since the current regime was installed.

    A submarine patent is a very specific type of process-abuse patent. Yes, patents have been used to squeeze money and, collaterally, inhibit progress since 1995. But that is not enough for a patent to be called a submarine patent.

    A submarine patent was one that was intentionally kept pending for a long time -- since the "timer" on the expiration of the patent only started once the patent was granted, this allowed companies to have a longer time with their invention covered by patent protection (say, 6-7 years pending, then the full 17 once the patent was granted). Even more perniciously, a company would ignore the use of the patent-pending invention by other companies until the patent was granted, and then: *POW* -- up comes the periscope and the torpedoes, with the invention already a core part of the competitor's business.

  • Re:I'll ask it again (Score:4, Informative)

    by jhol13 (1087781) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @01:41PM (#29838485)

    stuff that needs serious R&D

    Name one.

    You think >10Mbps downlink for your phone comes for free?

    It uses (among other things) Turbo codes which were developed by huge number of people (from different companies, universities, etc.) during several years. Why it is allowed to be patented the one implementation of the family? It could be found by computer search, or a trivial modification of paper from sixties or even fifties.

    3G or LTE uses NOTHING fundamentally new - or show me.

  • Re:Two way street (Score:5, Informative)

    by KillerBob (217953) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @01:46PM (#29838537)

    The geeks buy it so they can do something Linux-y on it, but they actually USE iPhones because they work and are trivial to use.

    I'm assuming you're just trolling, but still...

    1) The N900 isn't on the market yet. It's due to be released in the US next month, and later in the rest of the world's markets.

    2) The N900 does have an Exchange client, according to their marketspeak. Considering rules regarding marketspeak matching reality on things like that, I'd assume that they speak the truth.

    3) The iPhone is popular because it has the cool factor. If you want something that's actually useable, the iPhone isn't bad, but most people in business actually have a Crackberry.

    4) While it's personal preference, I'm actually quite happy with my Android-running HTC Dream. All of the apps are free, it's reasonably fast for downloads/google maps, it came with a 2GB SD card (which is big enough, for now), and I've got it set up to poll my home e-mail/gmail on a regular basis. I've got all of the functionality of a Blackberry that I'd want, and then some. Android's the new kid on the block, but from what I've seen, it's a definite competitor to the iPhone's popularity.

  • Re:I'll ask it again (Score:5, Informative)

    by Darinbob (1142669) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @01:49PM (#29838559)
    A big problem is that a "standard" means many things. I used to be naive and assume that standards were written by people in ivory towers who had not political or economic interests. There was also a bit of naivete in thinking the standards were written first and the technology arrived afterwords. Ie, like the academics create the ideas and base a standard off of it, then later on a commercial entity goes and turns it into a real product.

    Except that I've learned later this is not at all the way things work. Standards are highly political, and highly economic. Academics rarely has any place in the product, except maybe by getting a few votes. There is sort of a hope out there that most voters will remain above the fray, but in practice this is a misplaced hope most of the time.

    What generally happens, is that company A develops a new technology, and starts to sell it. Then company B develops a competing product, with vaguely similar technology. A standardization effort is started. Both company A and B refuse to compromise, and insist that their implementation be the standard. After all, these companies are already selling products to customers, and if they lose this standards fight, then they end up with a lot of customers who have noncompliant/obsolete devices. Meanwhile companies C and D join the standardization effort, because they want to make similar products but can't afford the years of prior research and development to come up with their own technology. Companies E and F join because they want to make auxillary products that can interact properly with the devices when they're standardized. Then all these people start taking sides.
  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Thursday October 22, 2009 @02:16PM (#29838889) Homepage Journal

    Nokia's patents pertaining to GSM technology and UMTS have absolutely nothing to do with a phones OS but rather the 7 layers under it.

    Yes, this is the prima facie matter, but usually there's more to it than that. Most likely Nokia has found that upcoming Qt features (or something related) infringe on Apple's IP. This is a corporation's way of saying, "we'd like to do a cross-licensing deal with you," especially if the other side isn't playing ball. In the end, Apple gets to makes its phones, Nokia ships the UI it wants to, nobody has to pay (except to the lawyers, of course).

  • by That's Unpossible! (722232) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @02:25PM (#29838993)

    Profitable?

    When you lose hundreds of millions of euros in a single quarter, we don't call that profitable.

    Nokia is in a race to the bottom. Like the girl selling /free/ lemonade, they're going to "make it up on volume."

    Let them have the marketshare, Apple is taking the mindshare, and making billions doing it.

  • here are the numbers (Score:5, Informative)

    by jipn4 (1367823) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @02:43PM (#29839215)

    where are you getting your "industry average" numbers?

    The numbers come from Booz Allen Hamilton and Business Week:

    http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2005/10/does_rd_spendin.html [businessweek.com]

    Apple's R&D to sales ratio is 5.9%, computer industry average is 7.6%.

    Apple is no lightweight in the R&D department and NONE of those other companies are expanding their R&D spending as fast as Apple.

    Apple spends money development, but not much on research; Apple's research output according to the usual objective measures (publications and citations) is non-existent.

  • by sznupi (719324) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @02:45PM (#29839229) Homepage

    Only Nokia Siemens lost money. The rest is profitable. (also, I'd like to point out that looking at a single quarter...well, fixation on short term really helped with recent recession; really...)

    Also, stop with this "iPhone is taking over" BS. Yes, Apple pushed the market forward, and they should be applauded for it. But outside US, Japan and few other countries, iPhone practically doesn't exist. It will be similar story as with Macs and PCs. Soon the biggest, by far, market for smartphone growth will be in dozens of countries you don't even hear about. Places where Apple doesn't even have the will to be present. Places where Macs and iPods never existed. Where Nokia completelly dominates. Where Symbian (and Android, I'd guess) will carve a huge userbase.

  • by saleenS281 (859657) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @04:36PM (#29840463) Homepage
    Given that two of the companies are LG Electronics and Sony... I'd say it's fairly safe to assume they could fight back in court if they really wanted to.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 22, 2009 @05:10PM (#29840813)

    If you honestly can't name any important OS contributions from Nokia, you *really* aren't paying any attention.

  • by PeanutButterBreath (1224570) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @06:38PM (#29841561)

    Correction: Everyone wants a phone that draws heavily from Nokia's tech. Apple just doesn't want to pay Nokia for using that tech to build the iPhone.

  • by jrumney (197329) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @07:14PM (#29841801) Homepage
    Due to the fact that any patents are only valid in some markets, it is always up to the manufacturer of the end product to license the patents they need for each market the device is sold in. Component suppliers never include patent royalties in the cost of the component unless it is patents that they themselves own.
  • Acronym fail (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 22, 2009 @10:33PM (#29842627)

    It's UMTS, not "UTMS".

  • Re:I'll ask it again (Score:3, Informative)

    by dwater (72834) on Friday October 23, 2009 @02:41AM (#29843463)

    > I can not remember even one paper form Nokia research

    http://research.nokia.com/ [nokia.com]

    Help yourself...

  • "not as popular"? (Score:4, Informative)

    by mdwh2 (535323) on Friday October 23, 2009 @07:17AM (#29844595) Journal

    Nokia made their product off their tech. It's not as popular as the iPhone.

    This, ladies and gentlemen, should be held up as a sad example of the effect of Apple-only coverage here on Slashdot for the mobile phone market. This poster actually believes that Apple have a bigger share of the market than Nokia. We are actually getting to the stage where, as a result, some geeks have less knowledge of the mobile phone market than lay people.

    A quick Google shows some actual figures from 2009 - http://www.mobileburn.com/news.jsp?Id=6191 [mobileburn.com] :

    Nokia - 38.6%
    Samsung - 16.2%
    Motorola - 8.3%
    LG - 8.3%
    Sony Ericson - 8%
    RIM - 1.9%
    Apple - 1%

    That, ladies and gentlemen, is the reality of the market (if you disagree, make sure you have a reference). You wouldn't know it from Slashdot (when was the last time we had a story about Samsung?)

    And to counter the standard replies, please avoid:
    * "I'm going to redefine the definition of the market so it includes Apple and some smaller players."
    * "I'm going to redefine market share to mean something other than sales, e.g., to mean how much I and Slashdot talk about it."
    * "I'm going to ignore your citation, and respond with anecdotal evidence of how I and my friends all seem to have Iphones, therefore it must be more popular, and I get modded up +5 insightful for it."

    As for your comments about patents, agreed - now please go and say the same thing to Apple, who also use patents against other companies.

  • Re:Two way street (Score:3, Informative)

    by mdwh2 (535323) on Friday October 23, 2009 @07:21AM (#29844625) Journal

    And indeed, I looked again - see my other comment, showing as of the start of this year, Nokia at 38.6%, Apple at 1%, with a whole load of other companies in between, also far above Apple ( http://www.mobileburn.com/news.jsp?Id=6191 [mobileburn.com] ).

    So let's try your statement again:

    "If the Iphone is so good, why are people buying 38x as many Nokia phones?"

    Fixed that for you.

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