Nokia Sues Apple
If you can’t beat ’em, sue ’em. That seems to be the thinking at Nokia.
Today, the Finnish cellphone giant, which has been struggling to develop a worthy competitor to the iPhone, filed suit against Apple, claiming the popular smart phone infringes upon a number of Nokia patents.
Specifically at issue here: 10 patents covering various wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption technologies. Nokia claims that every iPhone model shipped since 2007 has violated them.
“The basic principle in the mobile industry is that those companies who contribute in technology development to establish standards create intellectual property, which others then need to compensate for,” said Ilkka Rahnasto, vice president of legal & intellectual property at Nokia (NOK). “Apple is also expected to follow this principle. By refusing to agree appropriate terms for Nokia’s intellectual property, Apple is attempting to get a free ride on the back of Nokia’s innovation.”
To that point, Nokia says it has entered into license agreements with about 40 companies for these patents. Only Apple (AAPL) has refused. The obvious endgame here, then, is to force the iPhone maker to change its mind.
“We believe that Nokia is not seeking an injunction; rather, we believe that the company has been in talks with Apple concerning a patent royalty payment for over a year,” Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said in a bulletin to clients. “With today’s announcement, it appears that the companies have not come to a resolution and Nokia is attempting to hasten the process. Nokia is likely looking to obtain a patent royalty of 1-2 percent ($6 to $12) on every iPhone sold in compensation for its IPs concerning GSM, 3G and WiFi technologies on mobile devices.”
Interesting that news of the suit comes just days after Apple announced its most successful financial quarter ever at a time when Nokia is posting nasty losses.
I’ve asked Apple for comment and will update here if I’m offered one.