NY Times Seems To Recognize That Nokia's Patent Fights Have Nothing To Do With Innovation

from the it's-just-a-big-pissing-match dept

When Nokia first sued Apple for patent infringement over the iPhone, we noted that it appeared like yet another case of a company getting beat in the market suddenly whipping out some patents to sue over. This seemed to anger the usual bunch of patent system defenders -- along with a group of Nokia defenders -- but it appears that others are noticing as well. The NY Times has an article discussing Nokia's sudden aggressiveness in the patent realm, noting that the company has been facing some business troubles, and it's notable that its patent aggression seems to have shown up at just the same time as its own performance trouble. Funny that.

Of course, this is a major issue. As with so many high tech areas today, there are giant patent thickets. It's effectively impossible to launch a product that doesn't violate dozens, if not hundreds, of patents. And (despite claims to the contrary) it's got absolutely nothing to do with companies "stealing" from each other. It's got plenty to do with companies making the next logical step in the innovative process, and coming up with products that meet what the market wants. But with patent offices around the world being willing to hand out patents on minor changes, it's impossible to actually build a useful product that doesn't violate patents. This has nothing to do with innovation. At this point, patents are just a weapon that can be flung against anyone who does innovate if you can't compete.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Kazi, Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 5:19pm

    Let's not how the article talks about market advantage with respect to patents. It doesn't talk about how intellectual property is related to innovation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Kazi, Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 5:20pm

    Re:

    *note

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 5:32pm

    Near the end of the article:

    "Nokia filed its suit against Apple more than two years after the iPhone went on sale, which, Mr. Ihrfelt said, suggested that the suit was a symbolic line in the sand."

    In other words: "We're losing money now, and your phones are fetching a pretty penny, so you can't just use our stuff for free any more. Either innovate, pay up, or steal somebody else's stuff!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 5:54pm

    Re:

    "In other words: "We're losing money now, and your phones are fetching a pretty penny, so you can't just use our stuff for free any more. Either innovate, pay up, or steal somebody else's stuff!""

    I know! When the iPhone came out, everyone was saying, "It's such a Nokia ripoff!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    The Anti-Mike, Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 6:34pm

    Re:

    The innovation part of the title is interesting, and certainly shows how Mike works to twist things.

    Mike, would you care to show us exactly where the NY times says "Nokia's Patent Fights Have Nothing To Do With Innovation"? I can't see it, the word innovation only appears once in the entire article, and it isn't in relation to any of that.

    Come one Mike. If you are going to beat people up for phrasing errors, can you at least admit that the NY Times isn't saying anything about innovation? Can you admit you are just adding it in because it's your opinion, not theirs?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Allen (profile), Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 7:10pm

    Re:

    I'm more inclined to believe Nokia when they say that they spent the first two years negotiating with Apple and only went down this path when talks broke down.

    I don't think you need to look to Machiavellian motives for what Nokia are doing. The patent system allows Nokia to get a cut from the other manufacturers of GSM (and derivative) standard handsets . Why shouldn't Nokia expect to get the same from Apple? This is mature technology from decades old work - its practically money for nothing. Why wouldn't you expect Nokia to exploit the mess of a system we have to get money for nothing?

    Whether Nokia are deliberately exploiting the system to hold apple back doesnt really change the underlying problem: The patent system is broken. The outcomes it encourages are clearly counter to the original intent. The system needs to be reformed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 8:16pm

    Re: Re:

    "I'm more inclined to believe Nokia when they say that they spent the first two years negotiating with Apple and only went down this path when talks broke down."

    So they had two years to develop an competing phone, and did jack squat. Yeah, that's impressive.

    "Whether Nokia are deliberately exploiting the system to hold apple back doesnt really change the underlying problem: The patent system is broken. The outcomes it encourages are clearly counter to the original intent. The system needs to be reformed."

    Um, yeah, I'm agreeing with the last part. The first part is the entire problem.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 8:36pm

    You've violated my patent on The Patent Flinger (it's a weapon of mass destruction). Please pay up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 10:58pm

    This one time, I'd have to disagree in calling Nokia's ventures against Apple a patent abuse case.
    I truthfully believe that since Apple gets away with absolute travesty with DRM and its locked down systems (not to mention eye gouging prices!), it would try and huddle and scuttle out of paying Nokia patent rights.
    Also, if Nokia was doing this just for the money in a time of hardship, wouldn't they bombard every other manufacturer that is new the field? Cough.. HTC.

    Lets face it, no one knows the facts for sure, and I absolutely don't; however, there is good reason in my mind to to say that this might be one of the few valid cases.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Big Al, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 5:09am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "So they had two years to develop an competing phone, and did jack squat."
    No, they spent two years trying to get the 'innovative' Apple to actually pay for the technology that Nokia had patented.
    Finally, they did what most patent holders do to users of unlicensed technology - sue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 24th, 2009 @ 7:28am

    Re: Re:

    Personally, I found the headline very clear. "NY Times seems to recognize..." - in other words, based on the fact that the Times has pointed out the curious timing of Nokia's patent aggression, and suggested that it may be a defense mechanism, then it certainly seems like they recognize that it's not really about promoting innovation. And yes, that *IS* an opinion, nobody said it wasn't: Mike is just pointing out that a mainstream news organization seems to be coming around to the same position.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 24th, 2009 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "No, they spent two years trying to get the 'innovative' Apple to actually pay for the technology that Nokia had patented. "

    Maybe they should have been working on their crappy phones.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    The Anti-Mike, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The only thing that the article comes around to is that nokia is moving to push it's patents. In fact, the story discusses the idea more of a "line in the sand", and says nothing at all about innovation.

    Mike WANTS it to talk about innovation, but it does not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    sandeep rakesh, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 12:55pm

    Nokia seems to be in big trouble. Company managed by CEO Olly-Pekka Kallasvuo has not been able to put out any competitive products to Apple iPhone or Android phones. Nokia seems to be in really, really big troubles. Previous flagship product N97 was a major flop and the current flagship product N900 seems to have major flaws (either software or hardware) - users are reporting constant crashes, dead microphones etc. It looks like N900 was rushed - almost like put out in panic. Things aren't looking that good to Nokia.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2009 @ 3:47pm

    I see what everyone is saying.. and to go along with my last post.
    Ericsson and Nokia built the current GSM standard along with the hardware and technology.
    They both deserve credit where credit is due.
    Fuck Apple if they don't want to play by the rules

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Allen (profile), Dec 24th, 2009 @ 7:37pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "So they had two years to develop an competing phone, and did jack squat. Yeah, that's impressive."

    How exactly does this invalidate my inclination to believe that Nokia tried to negotiate first?

    Nokia are playing the game by the rules the same as everyone else - Apple included. The problem isnt Nokia, its the rules.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Sankar Rajagopal, Dec 25th, 2009 @ 8:32am

    nokia trying to cash

    Nokia is trying to cash Apple here. It seems like Nokia is currently in very, very serious problems and the only way to get out of the problems is to sue Apple and hope that would bring in some money. Nokia acquired Navteq in 2007 and that cost about 8 billion dollars, Nokia has been unable to make profit with Navteq. This must be a major issue. I think Nokia is having deeper problems than majority of the people really understand. N97 has been a major flop in India and elsewhere and latest handset N900 is suffering major problems. Nokia can't compete with Apple by playing fair game that's why court is the only chance they got.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    staff1, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 10:46am

    innovate/copy

    "At this point, patents are just a weapon that can be flung against anyone who does innovate if you can't compete."

    If your "competitor" is using your invention that means they did not innovate -they copied.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This