Apple launches countersuit vs. Nokia: No punches pulled in court docs

Apple launches countersuit vs. Nokia: No punches pulled in court docs

Summary: Apple has matched Nokia's patent lawsuit with a countersuit of its own.


Some companies swap Christmas cards. Others swap lawsuits. Apple has matched Nokia's patent lawsuit with a countersuit of its own.

Apple on Friday said Nokia is infringing on 13 Apple patents (statement). So much for Christmas spirit.

Apple didn't pull any punches in its countersuit (download complaint PDF), which alleges that Nokia is poaching patents ranging from user interface to power consumption to signal processing. The specific patents in question are listed here:

And handy links to the patents via Digital Daily: No. 5, 634, 074, No. 6,343, 263 B1, No. 5,915,131, No. 5,555,369, No. 6,239,795 B1, No. 5,315,703, No. 6,189,034 B1, No. 7,469,381, B2, No.RE 39, 486 E, No. 5,455,854, No. 7,383,453 B2, No. 5,848,105, and No. 5,379,431.

In a nutshell, Apple said that Nokia chose to focus on traditional wireless handsets and lost share in high-end phones. The solution for Nokia was to copy the iPhone.

A few money excerpts:


In October, Nokia sued Apple alleging that the iPHone infringes Nokia patents for GSM, UMTS and wireless LAN (WLAN) standards. The 10 patents Nokia sued Apple over covered wireless data, speech encoding, security and encryption.

In its complaint (download complaint PDF), Nokia argued that Apple's iPhone "takes advantage of continued investments by Nokia to build today's communications protocols. By refusing to compensate Nokia for its patented technologies, Apple is attempting to get a "free-ride" on the billions of dollars that Nokia has invested in research and development."

It's notable that the two sides are suing each other over completely different patents. Nokia is suing Apple over the inner workings of the iPhone. Meanwhile, Apple claims that Nokia is poaching the user interface from the iPhone. Add it up and we have dueling quotes to go along with the lawsuits.

Here's Ilkka Rahnasto, vice president, legal & intellectual property at Nokia, in October:

"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. 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."

And Apple's Bruce Sewell, general counsel on Thursday:

"Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours."

Good times. Now the judge can sort it out assuming the parties don't settle. Chances are they'll just cross license and call it a day.

Also: Apple thumbing nose at Nokia? Nokia sues them over wireless patents

Topics: Networking, Apple, Enterprise Software, Legal, Mobility, Nokia, Wi-Fi

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  • What do the patents cover?

    The link doens't say - it just says 13 patents?
    • Updated with full complaints

      Apple's patents are usability primarily. Nokia's are all comm standards.
      Larry Dignan
      • THX! nt.

      • Nokia caught sleeping on the smart phone?

        I've bought Nokia phones for years and generally like them. My wife
        has a new one and my son gets a new one for Christmas. (I get the
        iPhone :) )

        On the smart phone side, however, Nokia (and others) appears to have
        been caught sleeping while the iPhone was developed. Maybe there
        were too complacent while Apple was looking at new approaches.

        Regardless, it appears that Nokia is looking for a free ride on
        innovation while suing Apple for using standards Nokia contributed to
        the community. All Nokia has to do is get a jury pool where no one
        owns an iPhone.
        • Guess you haven't seen the N900

          Like the second story states in it conclusion paragraph, it may not overtake the iPhone in popularity, but probably it will be a high-end tool/toy/gadget for the pro/enthusiast.
          • Developed after the fact...

            The point stands - Nokia were caught with their pants down. They tried
            to beat the competition by suing their way out of trouble. They have
            done this before and got away with it, this time it would appear that this
            approach is going to backfire spectacularly. Yes the N900 may be a
            technically better pone (H/W it's still behind that of the iPhone), but it's
            form factor is just neither consumer or business friendly. It's Maemo
            interface, like S60, is cluttered and not particularly user friendly. It's an
            impressive proof-of-concept, but that is all the N900 is ever going to
            amount to.
            A none mouse Cow Herd
          • Well, I dunno, maybe....

            Who knows how long it was in development? there were the n810, n800, etc.

            As to patent suits I think feel that the whole system needs to re-examined & revamp. No mater who invented what first, It's a game corps play, with patents as bargaining chips for negotiation and to keep corp lawyers busy.

            Do not no what you mean that "(H/W it's still behind that of the iPhone)" as the n900 use a OMAP 3430 ARM Cortex A8 and the iPhone uses a Samsung S5PC100 ARM Cortex-A8, not sure which is newer/better? The iPhone definitely is a slick/sexy design that is customary with Apple. It seems to me you get far more H/W & capabilities with n900, as well as a more open nature. After all the Nokia is a ?computer with phone capabilities? unlike the iPhone ?a mobile phone with computer capabilities?.

            As to the UI I see no major issues?

            I think the iphone will probably remain more popular and Apple is likely to up the ante in the next gen.

            Both are great handsets use what best serves your needs/tastes etc.
            I am getting one (Nokia) because of its many qualities & features and also because I can choose the carrier and it seems the "no contract" T-mobile "unlimited" plan is the better deal for now. we will see.........

            Did you actually read that second link? How would you respond to the points?

            There is also a nokia site that has a number of 30 sec videos showing the capabilites

            In any case is it not good we have so much choice?.....
          • YES choice is good. Nokia however started this fight.

            I also agree with you that the whole patent/copywrite thing is a mess
            and needs serious reform. That said if this is a game a poorly
            written/designed one we can't blame Apple for being good at the only
            game in town now can we?

            As for the N900.. I myself don't promote features in the same way as
            others. I remember the iPod being number one rather quickly and the
            competition kept trying to counter the iPod with devices with MORE
            features. Yet after every generation that had more and more features
            than the iPod they sales never amounted to much. Why? Because
            features can be more of a hinderance to sales than simplicity.
            Features can reach glut level and Apple has proved both with the iPod
            and the iPhone that featured do not in and of themselves a successful
            product make.

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
          • @ James Quinn... I generally agree.....

            These sort of suits are SOP amongst all major corps especially tech ones.
            Rarely if ever do they make it to completion/judgement, in a couple years there will be a settlement &/or cross licensing agreement. As it is SOP I am not sure it really matters who started it, except to them & those of us out here who have opinions or want to cheer lead for our favorite side/team, etc..... I am not blaming Apple or Nokia. I have no dog in this particular fight.. although I do prefer the n900 over the iPhone.

            The iPod (like the iPhone) is/was a great device, highly functional, great design, great marketing/availability, and very trendy, it captured and define the market/mindshare, for media players. I had a early gen, I also have an Archos5 which I use far more as it has greater functionality. Popularity & sales are important to the company. Functionality/cost & use is more important to me as an individual.

            Not only because of the (3yr) head start, but because of its design, brand, & marketing, the iPhone will probably be the more, if not most popular. That is great for Apple & its investors.

            So it is the n900's functionality & cost I find most attractive, the other/added features are icing on the cake.

            But I have no illusions, that unless Nokia does some miracle marketing/promotion,
            it will be for those that seek it out & appreciate what it has to offer.
  • Apple invented the Wheel too ! And sliced bread !

    When I saw Apple try threaten to sue over multi-touch
    technology I realized that this company is just full of
    sh!t. Just because you successfully market something
    does not mean that you invented it. Try again.
    • So who "invented" it then?

      Baseless claims. Pointless.
      A none mouse Cow Herd
      • Fingerworks (apparently)

        at least for Apple

        "In 1999, Fingerworks, a Newark-based company run by University of Delaware academics John Elias and Wayne Westerman, produced a line of multi-touch products including the iGesture Pad and the TouchStream keyboard.[3] Westerman published a dissertation in 1999 on the subject. In 2005, after years of maintaining a niche line of keyboards and touchpads, Fingerworks was acquired by Apple Inc."


        Not to take anything away from Apple as they are usually first to bring innovation & design to the market, but as you can see from the rest of the wiki many people and companies have been involved in touch & multi-touch through the years.

        Are they suing because they own the trademark Multi-touch? A somewhat common phrase? Did not Nokia get a patent for their method of touch in '07 or '08?

        Good ideas will get reused &/or copied.......
        • These are patent infringement suits.

          They have nothing to do with the phrase "Multi-Touch," and have
          everything to do with how cell phones interface with computers.

          As to the trademark issue; I have no idea if Apple has gotten a
          trademark on "Multi-Touch," but if they have, it's certainly not
          unprecedented for a company to trademark a common phrase or
          word [b]as it relates to a certain type of product.[/b]

          Proctor and Gamble have a trademark on the common word "Tide," as
          it relates to laundry products. Ford has a trademark on the common
          word "Focus" as it relates to automotive products. Microsoft has a
          trademark on the common word "Windows" as it relates to computers.
          • Yes I realize it is about "patent infringement"

            In reading through that wikipedia entry it indicates The term Multi-Touch is a trademark of Apple, Inc. and I was being silly.

            Still I think some these patents (as related to tech or process) are overly broad & counter productive. It's one thing to recoup part or all ones R&D, but another to use as a crutch or barrier to entry. 20 yrs seems way to long for tech.

            Anyway as Larry said and as most often happens in these cases they settle and/or cross license etc.
  • One reason Apple is going to win.


    Apple, like many other American companies, sues others and get sued on daily basis. While it's a big deal for Nokia, it's just "another case" for Apple. Not many people can beat them in court. They know how to win the game.
  • RE: Are you kidding me?

    Most of the noted Apple "patents" are total BS!! They "disclose inventions" that have existed for 20 plus years. The last patent (filed in '93) claims they invented the boot loader!! Who's the idiot at PTO that even considered these seriously??