Nokia backs Apple's fight to ban infringing Samsung phones

Nokia backs Apple's fight to ban infringing Samsung phones

Summary: Nokia says the judge in the Apple-Samsung patent case got it wrong, and the ruling could set a "dangerous precedent" that threatens US innovation.

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Nokia has thrown its support behind Apple's efforts to overturn a decision not to ban the sales of Samsung products that infringe on the iPhone-makers patents.

The Finnish handset maker, a rival of Apple, believes the recent decision to award Apple compensation for Samsung's patent infringements but not a permanent injunction on sales of its devices could turn the US patent system into a "compulsory licensing" scheme.

Nokia outlined its argument in an 'amicus' brief filed with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Monday.

The company challenges the decision by US District Court Judge Lucy Koh last December that a patent holder needs to prove a "causal nexus" between the patented feature and the source of demand for the infringing product.

Judge Koh rejected Apple's bid to ban 26 Samsung products on the basis of a few "narrow protected functions" included in Samsung's infringing products. Weighing up public interest, the more appropriate compensation was the $1.05bn damages she originally awarded Apple.

Specifically, Apple had failed to "link any harm it suffers directly to Samsung's infringement" on a patent-by-patent basis. To win a permanent injunction, Apple would have needed to "show that consumers buy the infringing product specifically because it is equipped with the patented feature", Koh ruled.

Nokia's lawyers argue in a summary of the full brief (PDF) that the need to establish such a link "sets a dangerous precedent" that "could severely restrict, if not outright eliminate in some circumstances, the ability of a patent holder to obtain injunctive relief".

The precedent makes proving a causal nexus so burdensome it "may rarely, if ever, be met", and would force patent holders to license patented technology to competing firms, in turn harming incentives to innovate, according to Nokia.

Nokia is the only company to have supported Apple's bid to overturn the ruling, according to Reuters.

Separately, Judge Koh last week decided to cut Apple's damages award from $1.05bn to $450m, citing jury error.

Samsung's brief is not due for several weeks, after this happens 'friends of the court' (amici) that support its view are free to file their own.

Topics: Nokia, Apple, Patents, Samsung, Smartphones

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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27 comments
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  • Nokia should shut up

    and care about its failing bussines!
    Otherewise it will be 'upgraded' from M$ lapdog to member of the axis of evil software:
    M$, Apple & Oracle.
    LlNUX Geek
    • Its only me...

      Its only me (my browser) or this "geek" write "bla bla bla bla, blah blah..." (only this display my browser)? Sounds like Klingon during meal.
      Mr.SV
      • The Linux Community is crying right now...

        ... So just ignore their "mistake" and move on.
        ForeverCookie
      • I got the same thing, but I'm not sure he's the real Linux Geek

        Since it's spelled l1nux, not linux.

        It could be one of 007 people using a new screen name.
        William Farrel
        • the 007 people

          Did you know, 007 has a license granted by her Majesty?
          danbi
      • He was an abused child

        just ingore him/it.
        ScanBack
    • Listen..

      @LlNUX Geek, Google is eating all the open source and linux lunch by itself.... who is the devil?
      Owlll1net
    • LOL!

      Thanks Geek I needed the laugh! Now get back to your mop!
      athynz
  • Violating a patent SHOULD result in harsh penalties

    I don't have an issue with that.

    I have an issue with bad patents like how apple was able to patent a rectangle with rounded corners.

    The fix to the patent system is NOT to reduce punishments for patent violations but instead to ensure that patents are denied for some of the really stupid things that apple has been granted patents for.
    toddbottom3
    • I am going to go out on a limb and agree with toddbottom3...

      in this one particular instance (i.e. "The fix to the patent system is NOT to reduce punishments for patent violations but instead to ensure that patents are denied for some of the really stupid things that apple has been granted patents for.").

      Do not take that as a pattern beyond this particular instance ;-)
      jkohut
    • And I have a problem...

      ...with trolls that persistently repeat baseless memes. They did not patent rectangles with rounded corners or any other such nonsense, just as Ford didn't patent the doors of the Mustang. But they did register the trade dress as allowed under the Langham Act, with the PTO and won in court because Samsung infringed the iPhone design. If you made a car that looked like the Mustang apart from the nameplate and some chrome, Ford would sue your ass...and win.
      frogspaw
      • You are wrong, I have proof

        http://now.msn.com/apple-patents-rectangle-with-rounded-corners

        "Apple has just patented the round-cornered rectangle."
        toddbottom3
        • They didn't.

          Apple patented the look of the iPad. That includes a rectangular flat box, with rounded corners, with a rectangular non-wide screen, and a round button below the screen.
          ashdude
          • it's nice they didn't patent

            a squeezed spheroid to ban us from living on this Planet! No, they shouldn't have allowed to patent the OBVIOUS in the first place.

            SO yes, toddbottom3 is exactly right on this.
            eulampius
    • Toddy we've had this conversation

      And for some reason you are still stuck on the "rounded corners" thing like it's the Holy Grail. How many times do you have to be told that the rounded corners are just 1 part of the patent and that the one part in and of itself does NOT violate the patnet but using ALL parts of the patent violates the patent?

      IOW Apple has 4 components in that patent... violating 1 of those (the rounded corners) is not a violation. Violating 2 or 3 of those components is not a patent violation. When all components are violated THEN the patent is violated. Rounded corners on a product is not oing to do it alone. Using rounded corners, a thin silver trim around the bezel, one button on the face (which I think are all of the components of the patent - I'd have to look to be sure) on the same device without an agreement with the patent holder IS a patent violation.

      Havin said that I do agree with you in that the patent system is in dire need of an overhaul - and Apple is not the only one who has filed patents one may find stupid.
      athynz
    • Re: Violating a patent SHOULD result in harsh penalties

      Should independent invention be a valid defence? Or should you be automatically penalized just because someone else thought of it first?
      ldo17
    • Punishments

      In civil cases, they're called "damages" and are supposed to be compensation for the economic damage caused. Amazingly enough, patent infringement is a civil tort, not a criminal offence (you can't go to jail for it... yet). But even punitive damages should be proportional to the real cost of enforcing the patent (the very fact that some patent holders use lawsuits as a business model is an indication that statutory damages are too high).

      But yes, it's way too easy to get a patent and patent claims are way too expansive.
      John L. Ries
  • Sure

    the Microsoft tool is complaining, like Apple about the one company that is wiping the floor with both of them. How surprising!
    timspublic1@...
    • Yup

      The ONLY way that company can wipe the floor with both of them is by patent infringment and legal action.
      athynz
  • Too Bad

    Those expensive law firms see that particular verdict itself as a patent that can be manipulated like a Hollywood Oscar already as a way to extend the Jewish fable of getting richer without real technology innovation.
    BeanCube