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Nokia: Google's Nexus 7 Tablet Infringes Our Patents 183

Posted by timothy
from the this-is-a-storm-and-that's-got-ports dept.
walterbyrd writes with a story at The Inquirer outlining the latest volley in the patent wars surrounding mobile hardware, this time aimed at the new Aus-built Nexus 7 tablet from Google by Nokia, in which the company's spokesman says, "Nokia has more than 40 licensees, mainly for its standards essential patent portfolio, including most of the mobile device manufacturers. Neither Google nor Asus is licensed under our patent portfolio. 'Companies who are not yet licensed under our standard essential patents should simply approach us and sign up for a license.'"
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Nokia: Google's Nexus 7 Tablet Infringes Our Patents

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  • Good ol' Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Severus Snape (2376318) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @11:30AM (#40528533)
    Can't prove it but we all know this is another one of Microsoft's proxy wars.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by hsmith (818216)
      Wouldn't doubt it. It is really amazing the difference between debuting the Surface v the Nexus 7. The demos were unbelievable different.

      Hell, look how the demo of Google Glass went v the Surface. A toy project performed light years better than the Surface. MS has fallen from grace, badly.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        MS ever had grace?

        They've been having demos crash and bluescreen since forever.

        • by Dishevel (1105119)

          Microsoft DOS 6.22 with the 4DOS command.com replacement was seriously graceful.
          Almost better than a linux command line. Power, Grace, and Beauty.

          • Microsoft DOS 6.22 with the 4DOS command.com replacement was seriously graceful. Almost better than a linux command line. Power, Grace, and Beauty.

            I love your sense of humour. Remember how DOS wildcards work? If it sees an asterisk it fills the rest of the name (or extension, remember those?) on the right with ? chars. Nice. Right up to Microsoft's usual standards of truth and beauty.

            • by Dishevel (1105119)

              You can hate all you want.
              Microsoft has never done better than DOS 6.22
              If you replace most of it with 4DOS. :)

        • by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @01:01PM (#40530199)
          Right because Google never experienced any crashes [youtu.be] during a demo. Apple as well, known for their presentations, have always put on a perfect show with everything performing exactly as expected [youtube.com].

          Have you ever given a high-stakes presentation? Have ever given hundreds of them? Shit happens, and the more you get up there and put yourself on the line, the more shit happens.

          Steve Jobs had the right take on it.

          Even though Steve was a fierce competitor, he actually drew the line at taking advantage of competitors’ demo woes. I remember one time during the “think different” years when Bill Gates suffered a terrible failure demoing a new Microsoft technology. We at the agency thought it would make a very funny commercial for Apple. It seemed like an idea being handed to us on a silver platter. We would simply show Gates failing and end the ad with a clever line about Apple.

          Steve laughed — but he rejected it immediately. He said that demo crashes are an unavoidable part of the business, and that his own demos could fail as easily as Gates’.

          Source - The Joy of Demo Crashes [kensegall.com]

          • Have you ever given a high-stakes presentation? Have ever given hundreds of them? Shit happens...

            Shit seems to happen a lot more to Microsoft demonstrations. Having a warship towed back to port was a lovely demonstration.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Or it could be Nokia being ridiculously desperate. Microsoft has NOTHING to gain by patent trolling Google. Zero. The Nexus 7 isn't competing with the Surface.

      Nokia on the other hand, does.

      So which is more likely, Nokia is trashing about in an attempt to remain relevant or Microsoft is fighting a secret proxy patent war?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by dc29A (636871) *

        Or it could be Nokia being ridiculously desperate. Microsoft has NOTHING to gain by patent trolling Google. Zero.

        Care to explain why HTC and Samsung are paying Android royalties to MS? MS always wanted to prove that Android is not free, what better method to achieve this than patent trolling.

      • by Dishevel (1105119)

        Microsoft has much to gain by smacking down Google whenever they can.
        Bing / Google, WP8 / Android, Windows 8 on ARM / Chrome OS.
        I am not sure that Microsoft is pulling the strings on this one but....
        I am sure that you have to be a shill to put forth the idea that Microsoft has nothing to gain on ANY attack on Google.

        • Microsoft has much to gain by smacking down Google whenever they can.

          Trying to smack down Google you mean. On the face of it, Google seems to pack considerably more smack than Microsoft.

      • by jimicus (737525) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @01:04PM (#40530259)

        Microsoft has NOTHING to gain by patent trolling Google. Zero.

        Not true, I'm quite sure they'd love to bring their office furniture repair costs down.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by gbjbaanb (229885)

      Good old Nokia....

      so this is their "Plan B" [techradar.com]: become a patent troll.

      Good move Nokia.

      • by MikeMo (521697) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @12:19PM (#40529407)
        Come on, they're not a "troll". Patent trolls are regularly regarded as companies that make no product, have never implemented their patent, and exist only to sue. Nokia clearly invented a lot of the basic stuff that makes cell phones work today, and many of the standards in existence use these patents.

        This is a FRAND issue. Nokia is stating that Google is using technology covered in the standards, which require FRAND licenses, and which they have not acquired. They just need to step up and get them.

        Further, as far as I can tell, Nokia has been one of the best-behaved FRAND licensors in the business.
        • by Riceballsan (816702) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @12:47PM (#40529939)
          Nokia was under completely different management 2 years ago, which essentially makes every point on behavior prior to the microsoft deals entirely unrelated points.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by kanto (1851816)

            Nokia was under completely different management 2 years ago, which essentially makes every point on behavior prior to the microsoft deals entirely unrelated points.

            How exactly is this shit insightful? Afaik they went after Apple for freeloading and now they're going after Google... or maybe I just answered myself. Microsoft and Nokia have a deal on patents so Windows Phones aren't being targeted, go cry me a river.

        • I don't recall Nokia ever leading the way in smart phone or tablet development and innovation. In fact, they seriously lagged behind and dragged their feet for years, which is what got them in their present situation. They deserve to fail. Going down as patent trolls just makes them look worse. BTW, I used to work for Nokia as a developer, but not in their mobile phone division.
        • by msauve (701917) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @01:32PM (#40530783)
          "Google is using technology covered in the standards, which require FRAND licenses, and which they have not acquired."

          Just because Google doesn't license WiFi patents directly from Nokia doesn't mean they don't have legitimate licenses. It's not uncommon for chipset vendors to license patented technologies for use in their silicon, freeing those who use those chipsets from having to negotiate a separate license.

          I'm not claiming that's the case here, but even if Nokia's claim that Google hasn't directly licensed the patents is true, it doesn't mean that Google doesn't have a right to use the technology, or that they're not paying Nokia (indirectly).
        • Patent trolls are regularly regarded as companies that make no product, have never implemented their patent...

          You haven't been reading your wikipedia lately, have you? A patent troll is now anyone who trolls a patent, that is, uses it as an offensive weapon. Microsoft and Apple both qualify solidly.

    • by toriver (11308)

      Don't know about that: When Apple released the iPhone, Nokia pounced with a lawsuit then, too, long before Microsoft were their partners.

    • Maybe, but Nokia has been more than willing to sue everyone in the past, so it's not surprising that they'd do it now, even on their own.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wulva (564057)

      You are forgetting that Nokia as a company has done a major share of R&D in mobile space since 90's, thus they have huge chunk of patents covering the fundamentals. Now that their phone business is suffering they have to monetize somehow, and that how is their IP portfolio.

      It would be irresponsible of Nokia not to sue, as their shareholders want to see money.

      Most manufacturers have licensing agreements with Nokia besides some of the new comers such as Apple and Google and Apple already paid them off aft

    • Can't prove it but we all know this is another one of Microsoft's proxy wars.

      Obviously, Google's legal team is not fooled. This is the most direct attack by Elop/Microsoft on Google so far. In this high stakes patent trolling I'm betting on Google, just going by the severe schooling Google's legal team handed out to Oracle. My crystal ball shows a whole lot of sucessful patent busting on the way, with the enthusiastic and effective support of the open community. Can you spell Groklaw. I can see a big debilitating fight ahead for Nokia that it can't afford, but of course that just fi

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Apparently.

  • Transformer Line? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@@@keirstead...org> on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @11:33AM (#40528601) Homepage

    Asus has been making the transformer line for years. If Asus is not licensing required patents for Wifi, why has Nokia delayed on demands for so long?

    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      The patent in question is allegedly to do with WiFi, so more to the point- Asus have been making computers for years, full stop. Every single one of their laptops has WiFi that would presumably infringe in some way.

      But then I'm not even going to pretend that I even slightly understand patent law...

  • Do they have any left after selling so many off to patent trolls?
    Apparently so, if they're turning into litigious patent trolls themselves.

    Ahhhhh, feels good to be able to use the third person to refer to them - now Nokia-free for 2 days! (But still a dedicated n900 fan.)
    • by duranaki (776224)
      It would be hilarious for them to retract the statement. "Oops, turned out we sold that and no one told me." I'm now Nokia-free for 6.5 years. Welcome to the ex-Nokia club!
    • Refering to a company in the first person because you use their products is like refering to a sports team in the first person because you bought a jersey and went to a few games.

      • by duranaki (776224)
        I think, like me, the original poster is a former Nokia employee, not just a user.
      • by fatphil (181876)
        It would be, were it to have happened. It's a disease iWeenies have, that's certainly true.

        My employed life there's ended - meaning independence!

        (and you may read between the words to deduce what I was working on.)
  • Which patent? (Score:4, Informative)

    by ameen.ross (2498000) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @11:35AM (#40528647)

    FTFA

    It's believed that the patents in question have to do with the IEEE 802.11 WiFi standard

  • Wifi patents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrb (1083577) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @11:37AM (#40528673)

    I guessed that this was probably something GSM related, but TFA says "It's believed that the patents in question have to do with the IEEE 802.11 WiFi standard". It's hard to imagine that Asus doesn't already have a license for essential wifi patents, they must have sold millions of devices over the last few years that have featured wifi as standard.

    Bit odd that this has not been an issue until the moment that they release a Google branded device.

    • by whoever57 (658626)

      It's hard to imagine that Asus doesn't already have a license for essential wifi patents, they must have sold millions of devices over the last few years that have featured wifi as standard.

      It's also hard to imagine that Google doesn't already have a cross-license agreement in place through the Motorola Mobility acquisition. Also, what about the various Nexus phones -- surely they included WiFi?

      • The Motorola licence would probably only cover Motorola devices and not devices made for them (ie Asus hardware).
    • by fa2k (881632)

      I guessed that this was probably something GSM related, but TFA says "It's believed that the patents in question have to do with the IEEE 802.11 WiFi standard". It's hard to imagine that Asus doesn't already have a license for essential wifi patents, they must have sold millions of devices over the last few years that have featured wifi as standard.

      Bit odd that this has not been an issue until the moment that they release a Google branded device.

      Well, you know how it goes with SW patents, it could be something silly like displaying an icon next to the SSID while connecting to a network and then changing the icon when the connection is complete.

      • by fa2k (881632)

        Sorry, I don't seem to have RTFS. "standards essential patent" is a stretch for my example. Please ignore.

    • Public support for patents appear to be premised on the idea that patents protect inventions. An invention is generally understood to be some useful thing like the lightbulb or the telephone. The reality, of course, is that most patents don't cover standalone objects but bits and pieces of them.

    • It's hard to imagine that Asus doesn't already have a license for essential wifi patents

      It was also hard to imagine that Microsoft didn't already have a license for essential MPEG-4 patents, and yet Motorola sued them over one that applies to Xbox.

      There's no guarantee that a patent pool for a given technology contains all patents necessary to implement that technology, even if everybody believes it to be the case. It only takes one submarine patent to prove that theory wrong.

    • by Zebedeu (739988)

      It's unlikely that it's GSM related, since the Nexus 7 doesn't have cell data connectivity.
      The complaint is pretty odd to me too.
      Even if ASUS's existing licenses are not appliccable since they are selling the tablet under Google's brand, Google still owns the mobile branch of Motorola, and is hard to imagine that they don't have those patents.

      Furthermore, all of the nexus devices up to now have had WiFi. Why complain only about the tablet?

    • "It's believed that the patents in question have to do with the IEEE 802.11 WiFi standard".

      Of course, it's believed that. The Nexus 7 is wifi-only.

      Perhaps, Nokia probably just assumed that the Nexus 7 was cell-phone network enabled, because all the previous Nexuses were cell phones.

  • by gman003 (1693318) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @11:40AM (#40528741)

    The whole massive patent portfolios thing was hinged on mutually assured destruction. Everyone was violating at least one of everyone's patents, but as long as you either had enough of an armory yourself, or paid your dues to the patent portfolios, you were safe (disregarding wild patent trolls). Sort of like the actual Cold War - as long as you had enough nukes, or allied yourself with someone who did, you were safe (disregarding "rogue nations" and proxy wars).

    Well, this Patent Cold War is becoming a Patent World War.

    It's been going on for a while now, ever since the smartphone lawsuits first stated, but it's ramping up. They're coming faster and faster now, and going for bigger and bigger things. Pretty soon, you'll be seeing injunctions against entire companies, or multi-trillion-dollar fines.

    I expect, in the end, most of those involved will end up out-of-business. And, hopefully, it will end with a massive patent system reform.

    • by savuporo (658486) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @11:55AM (#40529031)
      I expect, in the end, most of those involved will end up out-of-business. And, hopefully, it will end with a massive patent system reform.

      You know, i get scared whenever anyone calls for a reform. I mean no doubt that the current system is broken, but i dread to see what the current powers would come up with to replace the current system.

      There was some sanity and integrity still around when the last system was designed - and now it has outlived it's usefulness, but we are also all out of sanity and integrity.
    • by erroneus (253617)

      Predictions:

      Google will get through this pretty well. So far, nothing has really stuck to them.

      OEMs will struggle through this because they will be targeted for supporting Google's platform. Google will help, but it will still burden the OEMs. Despite this, the OEMs will not stop supporting Android though one or more may throw Microsoft a bone by making a device or two featuring Microsoft's platform... they will fail despite the added marketing push simply because Microsoft keep s failing on the support

    • by gehrehmee (16338)

      With all these companies suing each other out of doing business, exactly what is the impact on the economy? Can a weakened economy afford this kind of nonsense?

      Of course, the law firms on laughing to the bank.

    • I expect, in the end, most of those involved will end up out-of-business.

      Why? Is that how it happened in previous patent wars?

  • Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @11:40AM (#40528749) Homepage

    Even though it's got nothing to do with Apple, I'm still going to blame them anyway since, as we all know, everyone copies off Apple, be it rounded corners or patent trolling

    :P

  • The case of Everyone v. Everyone is set to begin!

  • WTF! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@@@ovi...com> on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @11:48AM (#40528881) Homepage

    I used to be a total Nokia Fanboi. Hell, I use a Nokia N9 as my everyday cell phone. I cried like John Boehner when Elop took over and made Nokia Microsoft's bitch.

    Now I'm mad! I just ordered one of those Google 7 tablets, and my former love, Nokia is trying to stop me from having it!

    Phuque!

    Where is this world going?

    • by hendridm (302246)

      I pre-ordered a Nexus 7 for my wife as well. I am impatiently holding out for the Nexus 10 for myself. I really hope this doesn't delay it!

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @11:53AM (#40528975)

    That's the cost to US taxpayers* for all this patent trolling. It wouldn't be so egregious if there was actually some legitimacy to the claims but it's all about competing by litigation, which ought to be as illegal as stealing actual inventions.

    [*] - http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/07/new-study-same-authors-patent-trolls-cost-economy-29-billion-yearly/ [arstechnica.com]

  • ...No I don't. Because most of their stuff is low end crap. Samsung and Apple ate their lunch.

    • Has Samsung pulled their head out of their ass yet? The last Samsung phone I had (M900 - Moment) was a total piece of shit.

      • by Picass0 (147474)

        My Galaxy S2 Epic (sprint touchscreen) kicks ass. I have it rooted and run an Ice Cream Sandwich rom. Excellent phone. I wouldn't hesitate to upgrade to the Galaxy S3 once 4g LTE becomes available in my area.

        The Moment is ~3 years ago. It was a fair phone at the time, a bit chunky. It had a decent processor from what I heard. Both Samsung hardware and Android have come a long way.

  • by andydread (758754) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @11:54AM (#40528997)
    B&N warned that this attack from Nokia and MOSAID was coming. B&N said this was conspired with Microsoft. Microsoft's Steven Elop (Nokia CEO) is doing his former company's bidding. Now we see what B&N warned about mestastisizing. brace yourselves. The days of writing your own code and having it become successfull without paying a patent license fee for your OWN code is coming to an end. Thanks particularly to MS and their partners oh and Apple. And of course the geeks will sit back and take it lying down. I for one has influenced a few hundred people away from Microsoft and Apple products. Will continue that push along with more donations to the EFF.
  • by IrrepressibleMonkey (1045046) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @11:57AM (#40529051)
    There's not a lot to go in the Inquirer article (there never is in my experience), but isn't it possible that Nokia's stance is entirely reasonable? Maybe it does hold standards essential patents relevant to the Nexus tablet and is entitled to FRAND payments. It's not threatening to seek injunctions. On the face of it, Nokia is seeking payment for licenses that it believes it is entitled to.

    Not sure how we get from here to alleging Microsoft-led conspiracies... At least wait for the Google/Asus responses before taking sides.
    • by spire3661 (1038968) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @12:06PM (#40529201) Journal
      The Nexus 7 isnt fundamentally different from their other tablets/phones in regards to these patents. Why bring suit now?
      • Maybe it took them a while to realize it, maybe they've been insisting and wanted to escalate it, to pressure them...

      • by Zebedeu (739988)

        Microsoft is also releasing a tablet.

      • by kanto (1851816)

        The Nexus 7 isnt fundamentally different from their other tablets/phones in regards to these patents. Why bring suit now?

        They haven't sued, RTFA... they're telling them to license the damn tech and I'd be surprised if they hadn't approached the subject before.

    • by perrin (891)

      Because unlike most other tablets, the Nexus 7 does not have much profit of a margin. Many commentators are speculating that Google is selling the cheapest version at loss. So if Nokia is interested in money, this is a particularly bad target. Those hunting for a piece of the profit cake go after the big money makers, not products with razor thin margins. The explanation that makes more sense is that this is an extension of the shenanigans that Microsoft and Nokia have been playing against Android for a whi

      • by kanto (1851816)

        Google isn't interested in the HW so much as the fact that they need to control the OS and the ecosystem... you're essentially saying that since Google isn't out to make money with the devices they should be allowed to minimize their losses by not licensing tech developed by others.

  • And the saddest part is how surprised I am; which is to say not at all. In fact I will be surprised if Nokia is the last one to make claims about Google's tablet. No company can announce any new significant mobile device without patents hitting the fan.
  • If something goes wrong they don't have anything left to lose anyway
  • Ceo elop (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @12:17PM (#40529377)

    The Nexus 7 also violates Nokia’s patent for “a method for losing money on hardware sales.”

  • For a company near deaths door it sure do sound like it...

  • So far, all we have is a statement from Nokia. They are not taking legal action, trying for an injunction or anything. From what I can see and read on the article, it seems Nokia is only trying to force Asus/Google to come and talk to them, which is ok in my book.
    Trying to compare this to the stunt Apple is pulling is, at best, sensationalism ... and at worst (and thus, correct), stupid.

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @01:58PM (#40531183) Homepage
    I hope it gets to the point where no devices can be launched on time. Hopefully then someone will pull their damned finger out and fix the patent problems.
  • I would be willing to bet however that google is using a certified Broadcom module, in which case, they just plug it in, stick on the device, contains FCC ID blah blah and Bobs your uncle. No need license anything.

  • [PJ: So, Nokia is suing over a FRAND license. That explains something I was wondering about. With Apple and Microsoft telling the ITC that FRAND licensors should never be allowed to seek an injunction, Nokia sent in a letter [PDF] of support for Microsoft against Motorola, but unlike other supporters of Microsoft it didn't go that far on the FRAND-injunction issue. In footnote 1, it wrote:

    "Nokia owns thousands of patents that have been declared essential to various industry standards. Yet in spite of the fa

  • But it seems that Microsoft has stepped up to the plate. FWIW: I was right about Google being sued over this. And the lawsuit is coming from the same patent abuse machine.

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