Nokia Launches Another Patent Attack On Apple, Uses ITC Loophole To Get Second Shot At Hurting Apple
from the can't-compete? dept
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.