Nokia sues HTC, RIM, ViewSonic in global patent brawl

Summary:Nokia said it is taking HTC, RIM, and ViewSonic to court in a separate, new global patent dispute, in a bid to reclaim its intellectual property.

Nokia today launched a massive patent attack against two of its main smartphone rivals, HTC and Research in Motion, and is taking a swipe at television maker ViewSonic in the process.

As part of efforts to "protect its innovations and intellectual property", Nokia has fired off close to a dozen complaints to regional courts in the U.S. and Germany, as well as sending one in the direction of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).

A statement from Nokia said it has "licensed our standards essential patents to more than 40 companies", but HTC, Research in Motion, and ViewSonic are not playing ball, the company said.

The company said 45 patents are involved in one or more of the cases. It said the patents are propriety technology technology that covers both hardware and software features, and are not industry-standard patents.

Specifically, Nokia said the patents relate to "application stores, multitasking, navigation, conversational message display, dynamic menus, data encryption and retrieval of email attachments on a mobile device."

FOSS Patents author Florian Mueller has the full list of patents, including both U.S. and European registered patents.

Though Nokia prefers to "avoid litigation", it had to "file these actions to end the unauthorized use of our proprietary innovations and technologies, which have not been widely licensed."

There are 11 separate cases in four courts around the world, and one case to the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Nokia has submitted one complaint based on 9 patents to the U.S. International Trade Commission against HTC, thought to be the most serious of all mentioned cases. HTC appears to be the main target for Nokia as its cases spread to each court noted.

Nokia has also filed suits against HTC and ViewSonic in the U.S. District Court of Delaware in relation to 9 more patents and 15 patents respectively

Two separate cases against HTC and RIM have been filed in the German Regional Court in Dusseldorf.

Additionally, all three of the named companies are being sued in Germany's Regional Courts in Mannheim and Munich, totalling the number of cases to just short of a dozen.

"We will not tolerate the unauthorized use of our inventions," concluded Louise Pentland, chief legal officer at Nokia.

Nokia has taken a backseat on the ongoing patent wars, helped along by the Apple vs. Samsung dispute, which 'celebrated' its one-year anniversary in April.

As sister site CNET notes, in spite of Nokia being the target of numerous patent suits, Nokia and Apple went ahead on a deal that saw the iPhone maker license a vast number of patents from Nokia.

Two years prior to the agreement, Nokia sued Apple for patent infringement.

The Finnish smartphone giant recently lost the global cellphone lead for the first time since 1998, according to IHS iSuppli data, marking the company's decline in recent years in the face of competitors. The one thing Nokia still has its patents, and the move to jump into the battle marks how desperate the company has become.

Image credit: CNET.

Related:

Topics: Nokia, BlackBerry, CXO, Emerging Tech, HTC, Legal, Mobility, Security

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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