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25

Nokia files patent lawsuits against HTC, RIM and Viewsonic in the US and Germany

WP Central

The Finnish manufacturer has announced in a press release today that they have filed patent lawsuits and will be taking on HTC, RIM and Viewsonic. Nokia has filed the patent claims in the U.S. and Germany, alleging that products from the three manufacturers infringe a number of owned patents.

Louise Pentland, chief legal officer at Nokia, had the following to comment on the situation.

"Nokia is a leader in many technologies needed for great mobile products. We have already licensed our standards essential patents to more than 40 companies.  Though we'd prefer to avoid litigation, Nokia had to file these actions to end the unauthorized use of our proprietary innovations and technologies, which have not been widely licensed."

Nokia is reported to license standards essential patents to more than 40 companies, and while the manufacturer would prefer to avoid litigation; there's no apparent room for unauthorised usage. A total of 45 patents are included in the claims, which have gone to the ITC (U.S. International Trade Commission), as well as regional courts in Mannheim and Munich, Germany.

Nokia proprietary innovations that are protected by these patents include dual function antennas, power management and multimode radios, as well as software feature enhancements that include application stores, multitasking, navigation, conversational message display, dynamic menus, data encryption and retrieval of email attachments on a mobile device. Fairly "basic" stuff to the average consumer.

Apple and Microsoft are among a number of companies that have been actively engaged in patent lawsuits. With Nokia's continued struggle to regain marketshare, not to mention a pretty steep loss reported in the previous financial quarter, some would say it's about time the company started fighting hard. Check out the press release after the break.

Source: Nokia

Espoo, Finland - Nokia has filed claims in the United States and Germany alleging that products from HTC, RIM and Viewsonic infringe a number of Nokia patents.

"Nokia is a leader in many technologies needed for great mobile products," said Louise Pentland, chief legal officer at Nokia. "We have already licensed our standards essential patents to more than 40 companies.  Though we'd prefer to avoid litigation, Nokia had to file these actions to end the unauthorized use of our proprietary innovations and technologies, which have not been widely licensed."

Nokia's actions include a complaint to the US International Trade Commission (ITC) against HTC, suits against HTC and Viewsonic in the Federal District Court of Delaware, US, against HTC and RIM in the Regional Court in Dusseldorf, Germany and against all three companies in the Regional Courts in Mannheim and Munich, Germany. In total, 45 Nokia patents are in suit in one or more of the actions.

Nokia proprietary innovations protected by these patents are being used by the companies to enable hardware capabilities such as dual function antennas, power management and multimode radios, as well as to enhance software features including application stores, multitasking, navigation, conversational message display, dynamic menus, data encryption and retrieval of email attachments on a mobile device.

"Many of these inventions are fundamental to Nokia products," Pentland concluded. "We'd rather that other companies respect our intellectual property and compete using their own innovations, but as these actions show, we will not tolerate the unauthorized use of our inventions."

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Reader comments

Nokia files patent lawsuits against HTC, RIM and Viewsonic in the US and Germany

25 Comments

I have mixed feelings about this. While I can see some cases where a company legitimately has to protect their IP from infringement, this kind of smacks of an Apple-esque play to elbow competitors out of the way when you're not winning the game on marketing and innovation. And all that does is create more animosity and less competition, both of which are a bad thing for the mobile market.

"While I can see some cases where a company legitimately has to protect their IP from infringement, this kind of smacks of an Apple-esque play to elbow competitors out of the way when you're not winning the game on marketing and innovation."

Pretty much how I feel about the whole thing.

Well, Nokia doesn't seem to be pursuing product bans; they simply want to be paid licensing fees due to them as a result of their innovations.
 
Further, as far as WP is concerned, I believe it was reported that Nokia is the most successful WP device manufacturer - determined long before the IP lawsuit; they've already elbowed out HTC in that regard. 
 
And as far as marketing goes, we all know who is doing the better job with regards to WP.
 
I personally think that Nokia is doing what is necessary - they invented the technology, and if others want to use it, they can - for a fee.

"We will not tolerate the unauthorized use of our inventions" that's as thug as you can get without sounding hood lolol..

If they are truly in violation of the law Nokia is doing the right thing. How can you blame them? I don't think there is a company out there that would just sit back and not take this to court. I'm sure Nokia has sought out to resolve this outside of court prior to this. There must some sort of push back...no proof just a hunch.

If the belong to Nokia, Apple can't license them. They could be one of the 45 companies paying Nokia royalties. But anyway, If apple and others are paying, they should too!

I've had the feeling that some of the patent infringement compliants recently from other companies have been rather petty, but it does seem Nokia does have some legitimacy here. Nokia have the right to defend their technologies. What I have mixed feelings about is when these patent wars kick off and overall hurt the consumer by limiting certain aspects of a phone.

So wait, how does this work... HTC enters into a licensing agreement with Microsoft, so Microsoft is now protecting HTC. Nokia enters into an agreement with Microsoft and is also protected. Nokia goes after HTC, Microsoft protects HTC, and ultimately... Sooooo, Microsoft is going to win on this battle, and everyone else loses? Seems to me that it's best if they all settle and go out for some beers.

The patents that Microsoft is licensing to HTC aren't related to what Nokia is pursuing these companies for. I'd bet the hardware technologies are the true meat of the lawsuit... and that's something that they have every right to litigate over.

I dont really have an issue with this if others our licensing the patents and paying then these 3 need to also. Seems that using others patents arent really innovationg just taking shortcuts. Look at all Google is going through now with Android against Oracle.

Ok, so put yourself in their shoes. You come up with an idea, you patent it, but now someone else uses your idea and makes money off of it. How would you take that? I mean, it was after all your idea. :)

There is a critical difference between enforcing your legitimate patent rights and what Apple has been up to.
Do you like having air bags in your car?  Me too. All car companies had to license the technology from Mercedes, who spent tens of millions of dollars developing them.  The point of the Patent system is that in exchange for full disclosure of how to practice an invention, you get the right to enforce exclusive use of it, or to license it if you choose. This protects the investment it take to be the FIRST to invent and develop something, which is much larger and risker than copying someone else's ideas.
Without that protecion, companies won't tell anyone how they do what they do, AND, will spend a lot less money on innovation. Instead, everyone is free to either ask for a license or to look at what and how you have done, and try to build upon it to come up with something new and innovative.  The point is that there is no need to have every company re-capitulating the original research, and thereby wasting money, because the Patent holder has disclosed it to everyone.
In this way money gets spent to develop new technologies, not to re-invent them, and Society's technological progress is maximized.  This is why Patent rights are so important they are captured in the US Constitution.  That's right, Patent rights are Constitutionally protected.
The problems in the tech field stem not so much from patent inforcement, but rather from the wilfull violation of others Patent rights. If Nokia really has a fundamental Patent covering using cell phones to navigate (I haven't looked the specific up), and HTC has been ignoring that Patnet, they SHOULD owe Nokia a lot of $, an dsince Nokia has been licensing these patents out, HTC deterves it if they lose the ability to include Nkia's property in their products. Who cries for a thief?
And as far as Apple, well in court at the moment htey are trying to sue Samsung on the basis that they were the first to come up with the ide of a design for an information displaying pad device that is rectangular and who's front is mostly just screen. Didn't ANYONE at the Patent Office see 2001 a Space Oddysey?  Or read any Science Fiction in the last 50 years!  This is the other real problem, the Patent Office hands out Patents on the basis of trusting the Companies that submit them that they are telling the truth, and then the resulting Patent is enveloped with an assumption that the Patent Officer was both knowlegable and correct in their assessment.  Trust me, most of them are unemployable in their fields and wash up on the PTO's shores.  I've been dealing with Patents and Patent Examiners for 30 years and there are about as many "Experts" in the PTO as there are "Geniouses" in an Apple Store.
This IS the institution that issued a Patent on a stick after all (US PAtent # 6,360,693), and a method for using a swing (US Patent # 6,368,227). As long as that sort of incompetence is tolerated the Patent system is open to the kind of abuse Apple has become rightly pilloried for.

Sorry! That's what I get for composing on my PC instead of my phone. It didn't look so long there :-D

Sorry! That's what I get for composing on my PC instead of my phone. It didn't look so long there :-D

I must admit that the two oldest mobile phone makers in the world (Nokia&Motorola)have some serious patent portfolio. Would love to see more Nokia phone features in windows phone.

What I would really like to see is Nokia fully feature these patents that they are licensing to other manufacturers. I mean if HTC is using a Nokia patent for naviation...Nokia's navigation function should blow doors on the HTC version.

If these companies are using technologies invented by another company without a licensing agreement they are breaking the law and should be sued. I guess we'll find out if it's true at a later date.

Well, desperation will drive you to litigation I guess.
 
Nokia needs the money, badly; it's just sad to see them resort to this.   It's like seeing your favorite third grade teacher turn tricks on the corner.

I'm glad to see Nokia showing some teeth. There has been no shortage of others kicking them when there down its a good sign for them to show they will not go down without a hell of a fight.