John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Did Nokia Sue Apple Before Apple Could Sue Nokia?

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Analysts mulling over Nokia’s IP infringment suit against Apple seem to be of two minds about how the action will play out. There are those, like Neil Mawston at Strategy Analytics and Ben Wood at CCS Insight, who warn that Apple (AAPL) is on dangerous ground here at best. It’s almost impossible to build a cellphone without using Nokia’s (NOK) intellectual property, they claim. And if that’s the case with the iPhone, then Apple could end up paying Nokia hundreds of millions of dollars in licensing fees if Cupertino ends up on the losing side of this suit. (Click on text image below to see list of patents at issue.)

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Some analysts, like Maynard Um of UBS, see Nokia’s action as a preemptory move against a possible infringement suit from Apple aimed at Nokia’s own multitouch handsets.

“We believe Nokia’s suit could be a pre-emptive move ahead of its new handsets launching soon that may have multi-touch capabilities for which Apple has IP,” Um wrote in a note to clients this morning. “We would not be surprised if Apple eventually files an infringement suit if Nokia’s handsets are deemed to infringe its IP and we believe Nokia would prefer any court action to be combined as prior cases have been. We expect the legal process to be drawn out & could involve US Patent Office reviews.”

The endgame here? Most likely an out-of-court settlement and cross-licensing agreements–assuming Apple’s willing. After all, Nokia is on record admitting its fondness for Apple’s technology.

Asked once about the striking similarities between a touchscreen device it was designing and Apple’s iconic handset, Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia’s head of multimedia devices replied, “If there is something good in the world then we copy with pride.”

Check out the video:


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik