Nokia Accuses Apple of “Legal Alchemy.” Stops Short of “Chymistry” and “Heresy.”
The rhetorical terpsichore in the Nokia-Apple patent-infringement spat is ramping up–and quickly. Late last week, the Finnish mobile phone maker asked a U.S. judge to dismiss Apple’s (AAPL) antitrust claims against it, disparaging them as “legal alchemy.”
“Through what charitably could be called an attempt at legal alchemy, Apple employs revisionist history, misleading characterizations, unsupported allegations and flawed and contradictory legal theories to turn these fruitless negotiations into a multi-count federal lawsuit,” Nokia (NOK) said in papers filed in federal court in Wilmington, Del. (full document embedded below).
“These non-patent counterclaims are designed to divert attention away from free-riding off of Nokia’s intellectual property, a practice Apple evidently believes should only be of paramount concern when it is the alleged victim,” the filing continued.
“Legal alchemy”? Where’s Nokia looking for legal inspiration, the Salem Witch trials?
Anyway, a blistering condemnation, but no more so than the one Apple (AAPL) let fly against Nokia in December, when it accused the company of copying the iPhone after finding itself caught flat-footed by the device’s success.
In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone a ground-breaking device that allowed users access to the functionality of the already popular iPod on a revolutionary mobile phone and Internet device. The iPhone is a converged device that allows users to access and ever expanding set of software features to take and send pictures, play music, play games do research, serve as a GPS device and much more….The iPhone platform has caused a revolutionary change in the mobile phone category.
In contrast, Nokia made a different business decision and remained focused on traditional mobile wireless handsets with conventional user interfaces. As a result, Nokia has rapidly lost share in the market for high-end mobile phones. Nokia has admitted that, as a result of the iPhone launch, the market changed suddenly and [Nokia was] not fast enough changing with it.
In response, Nokia chose to copy the iPhone, especially its enormously popular and patented design and user interface….
As Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia’s executive Vice President and General Manager of Multimedia, stated at Nokia’s GoPlay event in 2007 when asked about the similarities of Nokia’s new offerings to the already released iPhone: “[i]f there is something good in the world, we copy with pride.” True to this quote, Nokia has demonstrated its willingness to copy Apple’s iPhone ideas as well as Apple’s basic computing technologies, all while demanding Apple pay for access to Nokia’s purported standards essential patent. Apple seeks redress for this behavior.
Seems to be quite a battle in the offing here. That said, we’re not likely to see a victor declared for another year or two. According to Nokia’s filing, the Delaware case probably won’t go to trial until spring of 2012. The International Trade Commission, however, is expected to issue its decision on the matter in June 2011.