Nokia sues HTC, RIM, ViewSonic in global patent brawl

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.

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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.

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

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21 comments
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  • Wonderful drop

    "The company???s Q1 results showed sales dropping from $4 billion to $9.2 billion on the same quarter a year earlier."

    A lot of companies would like to see drops of sales going in that direction!
    lepoete73
  • so micro$oftish!

    has ballmer blessed these lawsuits?
    The Linux Geek
    • Really?

      NO mention of Microsoft, Apple, Oracle - or as you refer to them "the axis of evil" and you STILL want to bring it up? So is Nokia evil? HTC? RIM? Who are we rooting for here? And what does Microsoft have to do with any of this? RIM's share is dropping steadily and HTC has not been doing so well either in comparison to their Android OEM competitors which sucks as HTC IMHO makes a far superior product to Samsung and LG.
      NonFanboy
      • Nokia is a high profile MS partner

        But there's no evidence at this point that they're acting on MS' behest (other than the usual chorus of MS fans eager to jump to Nokia's defense), so I don't think it appropriate to bring them up.
        John L. Ries
  • Shotgun approach.

    45 patents? I wonder how many re even valid theses days? I also wonder if Microsoft's lawyers were there, representing Microsoft's interests. Or is that only the case with the thousand plus patents Microsoft assigned to Mosaid?
    Jumpin Jack Flash
  • There is nothing here that has anything to do with recent performance or

    desperation of any kind. Any assertion otherwise is just ridiculous. They've been working for years to negotiate these things and finally had to resort to lawsuits only when these exhaustive negotiations failed to lead to resolution with a few thieving (in their view) companies. Apple recognized the validity of Nokias patents and made a deal.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Only when Nokia lowered the price

      To what it was charging the other major players. What will be interesting to see is, how Nokia will deal with competition. Will they react like Microsoft?, or will they compete fairly?
      Jumpin Jack Flash
    • Ah!

      Apple never recognizes any wrongdoing on their part, they were forced by the court to pay Nokia.
      H3llb0und
  • In the Us and

    [b]Germany[/b].

    Is Germany the the EU's equivient of Texas?
    William Farrel
  • Protecting IP is a Good Business Move

    The claim that filing lawsuits to protect your intellectual property is a move of desperation is ridiculous. Protecting your valuable IP is a good business practice for any company.
    InternetSecurityAnalyst
  • good for them

    Nokia first phone i bought in 2002 had voice dialling love it and all the new phone each have some thing to pay to Nokia for thing's that are in thiere phone's taken with out permsion
    sarai1313@...
  • Sad to see Nokia resort to patent trolling.

    Didn't Eastman Kodak do the same thing before they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy?

    Similar fates, IMO.
    Theseus
    • If Nokia goes Belly up

      Then they will transfer all of the remaining Patents to the World's largest Patent Toll.... Microsoft. I believe that Microsoft hedged it's bet on Nokia with the Transfer of 2,000 Nokia Patents to the MOSAID group in Canada. This serves two purposes:
      1) In case Nokia goes bankrupt, Microsoft retains ownership[ of the Patents. this allow Microsoft to another company from obtaining the payytents in question. If Nokia starts shifting more Patents to MOSAID, then they're about to go Bankrupt.

      2) MOSAID is a Canadian group, and is not bound by US laws. They do not need to identify their largest shareholder, or where they get their finances from. For all we know MOSAID is a group of Lawyers on Retainer with Microsoft...
      Jumpin Jack Flash
  • And it begins...

    .... if you can't innovate, litigate!

    http://www.tech-thoughts.net/
    sameer_singh17
  • Trivial Patents For Obvious Inventions

    Yet we the consumer lose again thanks to the broken patent gravy train.
    Alan Smithie
    • How's the consumer losing?

      As far as any one can tell, the consumer is jumping into all kinds of mobile devices, paying high prices as they go, and not even noticing or caring about patent litigation anywhere.
      adornoe
      • Why don't you go look it up yourself, dumb ass

        NT
        ScorpioBlack
      • Scupidor: Don't need to look it up, and it's you that's too dumb

        to understand the questions and the answers.

        So, stop messing around with Ted and Larry, and get an education on something other than "asses" or "penises".
        adornoe
      • You asked a dumb question

        You get a smart answer. It's the only thing a mor0n like you understands.

        I hear tell that bathroom's still a mess. Go clean it.

        lol... :D
        ScorpioBlack
      • When competition is not present

        The consumer loses. If a Monopoly is established, and abused, the consumer loses. They lose by having to pay "Monopoly Rents", for inferior products. This has already happened once in the last 20 years. In case you missed it Microsoft was found to be a Predatory, Abusive, Monopolist. Even though they were never held accountable for their actions, they were found to have abused their Monopoly.
        Jumpin Jack Flash