Nokia says Apple stole, well, pretty much everything

Finnish mobile device maker files second patent complaint with U.S. ITC

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Undaunted by a recent ruling against it in a similar case, Finnish cell phone giant Nokia (NYSE: NOK) on Monday filed a second complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission alleging that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) stole several technology patents for "virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players, tablets and computers."

(Also see: Microsoft-Nokia: A marriage of mobile mediocrities)

According to a Nokia press release, the company's latest complaint against Apple covers seven patents used "to create key features in its products in the areas of multi-tasking operating systems, data synchronization, positioning, call quality and the use of Bluetooth accessories."

Last Friday an ITC judge in Washington, D.C., ruled that Apple is not violating five Nokia patents. But that case is subject to review by the six-member commission, an independent agency that has legal authority to prohibit products infringing on U.S. patents from entering the country. The full ITC will announce in late May whether it will review the judge's ruling.

In announcing Monday's action, Paul Melin, vice president for intellectual property at Nokia, said, "Our latest ITC filing means we now have 46 Nokia patents in suit against Apple, many filed more than 10 years before Apple made its first iPhone."

Nokia's latest complaint asks the U.S. ITC to ban the import of iPhones, iPads, iPods and Mac computers, which, when you think about it, would make quite a dent in Apple's sales.

It's been a constant legal battle between these companies for nearly 18 months. Nokia kicked it off in October 2009 with a patent lawsuit demanding royalties on Apple's iPhone. Apple countered two months later with its own allegations of patent infringement.

Of course, the backdrop of all this is the fantastic success of the iPhone, which debuted in July 2007 and kick-started the modern smartphone era, which roughly coincided with Nokia's descent in the U.S. smartphone market as its Symbian mobile OS struggled to keep up with Apple's iOS and, later, Google's Android.

Melin also had this to say: "Nokia is a leading innovator in technologies needed to build great mobile products and Apple must stop building its products using Nokia's proprietary innovation."

Starting next year, the "leading innovator in technologies needed to build great mobile products" is expected to begin building smartphones using Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 mobile OS.

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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