Nokia is suing Apple for using its technology without paying in latest smartphone patent war

Former mobile market leader says California tech giant has used its inventions, including displays, user interfaces, software, antennas and chipsets

Ben Chapman@b_c_chapman
Thursday 22 December 2016 15:47
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Nokia was once the dominant player in the mobile phone market but failed to adapt to the smartphone revolution
Nokia was once the dominant player in the mobile phone market but failed to adapt to the smartphone revolution

​Nokia has announced it is suing Apple for patent infringement, claiming the US company uses its technology in many devices without paying for it.

Nokia filed lawsuits against Apple for violating 32 technology patents, intensifying a battle between the two companies.

A day earlier, Apple took legal action against two patent-licensing firms, Acacia Research Corporation and Conversant Intellectual Property Management, accusing them of colluding with Nokia to extract and extort exorbitant revenues unfairly from Apple.

“Since agreeing a license covering some patents from the Nokia Technologies portfolio in 2011, Apple has declined subsequent offers made by Nokia to license other of its patented inventions which are used by many of Apple’s products,” Nokia said in a statement.

“After several years of negotiations trying to reach agreement to cover Apple’s use of these patents, we are now taking action to defend our rights,” Ilkka Rahnasto, head of Nokia’s patent business, said.

Finnish Nokia, once the world’s biggest mobile phone maker, filed actions in Germany and the US, claiming Apple had infringed patents on displays, user interfaces, software, antennas and chipsets.

“We’ve always been willing to pay a fair price to secure the rights of patents covering technology in our products,” said Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock. “Unfortunately, Nokia has refused to license their patents on a fair basis and is now using the tactics of a patent troll to attempt to extort money from Apple by applying a royalty rate to Apple’s own inventions they had nothing to do with.”

The latest spat marks a revival of the smartphone patent wars that peaked in the early 2010s, when smartphone companies started to sue each other around the world, with wins and losses on all sides.

Nokia led the world mobile phone market from 1998 to 2011 but fell into rapid decline after failing to make a successful transition to smartphones. It chose to use Microsoft’s mobile platform, which turned out to be a flop.

The Finnish company sold its unprofitable handset business to Microsoft for $7.2bn in 2014 to focus on network hardware, but it still possesses a wide portfolio of intellectual property.

Nokia smartphones could make a comeback next year after Microsoft offloaded the unit to HMD Global, which plans to launch new Nokia-branded models next year.

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