Another day, another wave of mobile patent lawsuits
Nokia files IP infringement complaints against Apple in three European courts
Continuing its ongoing legal battle against Apple, Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia on Thursday said it has filed infringement claims against the iPhone maker in the U.K., Germany and the Netherlands covering more than a dozen patents Nokia asserts are its own.
Nokia's filing in the U.K. High Court involves patents for touch user interface, on-device app stores, signal noise suppression and modulator structures.
The filings in two different German courts involve a total of 12 patents related to messaging functionality, caller ID, display illumination antenna structures, chipsets and integration of multiple radios, as well as several that overlap with patents mentioned in the U.K. action.
Nokia's lawsuit in the Hague, Netherlands covers just two patents, one related to signal noise suppression and the other to data card functionality. (Why are the Dutch getting shortchanged?)
In a statement announcing the latest legal salvos, Paul Melin, Nokia's vice president of Intellectual Property, said:
"These actions add 13 further Nokia patents to the 24 already asserted against Apple in the US International Trade Commission and the Delaware and Wisconsin Federal courts. The Nokia inventions protected by these patents include several which enable compelling user experiences. For example, using a wiping gesture on a touch screen to navigate content, or enabling access to constantly changing services with an on-device app store, both filed more than ten years before the launch of the iPhone."
Apple did not respond to Nokia's latest court filings, other than to remind everyone that the Beatles are now on iTunes. (OK, I made that up. I'm just trying to ease the tension between these two companies.)
The patent war between Nokia and Apple began in October 2009, when Nokia filed a lawsuit in Delaware claiming that Apple's iPhone infringed on 10 wireless communication patents. Two months later, Apple counter-sued and raised the ante, alleging that Nokia was infringing on 11 of its patents.
Nokia counter-countered by filing a suit with the U.S. International Trade Commission, essentially accusing Apple of stealing every idea Nokia ever though of. Last January Apple filed a counter-complaint with the ITC.
In addition, Apple earlier this year filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Taiwan-based HTC Corp., which makes smartphones running on Google's Android mobile operating system.
In early October, handset manufacturer Motorola sued Apple, claiming Apple had infringed on 18 patents. Apple promptly counter-sued, arguing Motorola has violated 24 of its patents. Not to be left out of the legal fun, Microsoft also has sued Motorola over smartphone patents.
All of which leads to one inescapable conclusion: Job prospects for patent attorneys specializing in mobile technology have never been brighter.
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.