THE NOKIA versus Apple patent battle has been ratcheted up a notch after the Finnish telecoms equipment maker – once the world’s unassailable market leader in mobile phones – added a further eight patents to its intellectual property dispute with the world’s most profitable smartphone maker.
Nokia is now accusing Apple of violating 40 of its excellent patents in 11 countries – a move that indicates that it means business. Big business.
It comes after Nokia alleged infringements of 32 patents in Apple’s iPhone and iPad in court filings in the US and Germany earlier this week. “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,” said Ilkka Rahnasto, head of Nokia’s patent business, Nokia Technologies, in a statement.
It’s a long way from the unexpected love-in between the two companies back in March 2013, when Nokia still made mobile phones (just). Back then, Nokia stepped-in to the rancorous battle between Apple and Samsung on Apple’s side.
Before then, though, the two companies had squared up in a patent dispute back in 2011, with Apple agreeing to pay royalties to Nokia following a two-year dispute.
But Apple now accuses Nokia of excluding a bunch of patents from that deal and transferring them to a greedy, avaricious third-party “to be used for extorting excessive royalties” from poor, penniless Apple.
In the court filings this week, Nokia claimed that it had been trying to negotiate with Apple for years to try and reach a deal on the outstanding patents. Apple, meanwhile, claims that it would really, really like to reach a deal based on a “fair price”, but that Nokia was “using the tactics of a patent troll” in an attempt to “extort money from Apple”.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Nokia is attempting to extract $720m from hard-up Apple to add to Nokia Technologies burgeoning IP licensing business, while Apple is playing hard ball as it knows that it is unlikely that Nokia could get an injunction barring Apple from selling its products over the intellectual property dispute.
A pox on all your houses, frankly. µ