Nokia Launches Another Patent Attack On Apple, Uses ITC Loophole To Get Second Shot At Hurting Apple

from the can't-compete? dept

We’ve seen how Nokia’s troubles in keeping up in the smartphone market have resulted in suddenly filing a whole bunch of patent lawsuits, including the big one against Apple over the iPhone. Of course, as usually happens in these types of situations, Apple fired back with a patent infringement lawsuit of its own against Nokia. Welcome to patent nuclear war.

And, of course, if you thought the battles would end there, you haven’t been paying attention to how patent battles work these days. For years now, we’ve been pointing out that many patent holders actually get two cracks at companies over the same exact patents. They sue in the courts, and they use the ITC loophole to get a second crack, which could have even worse consequences. You see, the International Trade Commission is supposed to watch out for unfair trade practices. So many patent holders go to the ITC and claim that companies that infringe on patents are using unfair trade practices and should be barred from importing those goods into the US. Of course, the ITC could rely on the courts to determine if the products are actually infringing, but it does not. It decides for itself. And while the ITC cannot issue fines, it can issue an injunction barring the import of these products. With so many high tech products being manufactured overseas, this creates an effective injunction against selling many high tech products in the US… even as the Supreme Court has made clear that injunctions don’t always make sense. But, the ITC is not bound by the Supreme Court on this and can do what it wants. A recent study has shown that this ITC loophole is frequently abused.

So, it’s not at all surprising that (yes, indeed), Nokia has jumped in with both feet and has filed a complaint with the ITC as well over the Apple iPhone and its alleged infringement on Nokia patents. So now we have two totally seprate processes, either of which could conceivably bar Apple from selling iPhones in the US, just because Nokia’s been too slow in coming up with its own iPhone competitor. That’s not encouraging innovation at all. It’s proactively trying to use the US government to slow it down.

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Companies: apple, nokia

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Comments on “Nokia Launches Another Patent Attack On Apple, Uses ITC Loophole To Get Second Shot At Hurting Apple”

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DenisV says:

It's not that simple

Those are not the same patents Nokia sues for in Delaware, and the scope is not limited to iPhones, but to iPods and iMacs as well.

And, ummm, Nokia is not a struggling beggar. It still is the largest cell phone manufacturer in the world, with a huge market share. It doesn’t need an “iPhone competitor”, it has a portfolio of those.

JackSombra (profile) says:

“It doesn’t need an “iPhone competitor”, it has a portfolio of those.”
As someone who generally hates Apple (control freaks) and won’t buy an Iphone on principal and who own’s a N97, one of Nokia’s latest attempts at a “iphone competitor” i would dispute that statement, what Nokia has is a portfolio of “Failed iPhone competitors”

Ronald J Riley (profile) says:

Is Apple A Serial Infringer?

There is a reason that Apple keeps getting sued. Maybe they should start acquiring rights before use.

Ronald J. Riley,

I am speaking only on my own behalf.
President – – RJR at
Executive Director – – RJR at
Senior Fellow –
President – Alliance for American Innovation
Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
Washington, DC
Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 – 9 am to 8 pm EST.

ScaredOfTheMan says:

This is a Tell

I don’t care that nokia ” is the largest cell phone manufacturer in the world” it only has that title because it makes cheap phones for china. Nokia used to be the leader in mobile handsets, with awesome phones like the E90, they were the standard in business phones. Now they are relegated to dominating the dumb handsets market…. woo hooo. While RIM and Apple and now even Motorola with the Droid eat their lunch.

Based on reading TD for the last few years it seems whenever a company can’t compete, they sue. It’s like announcing to the world, we simply have no other options to generate revenue or battle our competitors so here come the hail mary.

Salim Fadhley says:

DIfferent motivations

Nokia is not suing Apple simply *because* Apple are beating Nokia in the lucrative high-end handset market… but because they can.

Do you think for one moment that Apple would not sue Nokia if there was something they thought they could gain? That’s the way modern litigation works. It’s just part of business as usual.

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