ITC probes Apple on patents

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has officially launched its investigation into whether Apple infringed on Nokia's patents.

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has officially launched its investigation into whether Apple infringed on Nokia's patents.

"We are pleased that the ITC has moved quickly to begin investigation," said a Nokia spokeswoman.

Nokia first sued Apple back in October 2009 claiming patent infringement. Later Apple countered with a suit of its own, claiming that Nokia infringed on 13 of its patents. In December Nokia filed an official complaint with the ITC claiming that Apple infringes on the company’s patents "in virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players, and computers." Apple then filed a complaint with the ITC looking to block Nokia imports into the US.

What's interesting is that the ITC can ban the sale of products in the US. For Nokia, this would be a minor blip as most of its sales happen outside the US. For Apple, a ban would be a very big deal indeed. It's likely that Nokia is using this to put pressure on Apple to come to the table and reach an agreement (one that's favorable to Nokia).

This is going to get interesting over the coming weeks and months.