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A declaration of war between Nokia and Apple

23 October 2009

This appears to be nothing short of a declaration of war between Nokia and Apple which potentially paves the way for extensive and prolonged litigation.

The action filed in Delaware, USA, seeks compensation for infringement of 10 “essential” patents that it argues are “fundamental to making devices which are compatible with one or more of the GSM, UMTS and wireless LAN standards”. This has parallels with previous legal disputes, in particular between Nokia and Qualcomm. That litigation focussed principally upon the extent to which certain patents were in fact essential. Here, the battle ground may be more upon whether Nokia’s patents are infringed and of course whether they are valid.

Nokia’s press release suggests that the litigation was preceded by a period of negotiation between the companies. Its decision to get heavy may therefore be an attempt to put commercial pressure on Apple in those negotiations.

The more interesting long-term issue is whether other holders of essential patents will follow suit and bring claims against Apple.

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