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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Yes - it's sarcasm, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 4:56pm

    It's nice to see patents being used for their intended purposes.
    /s

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 29th, 2009 @ 5:09pm

    In before Anti-Mike

    Obviously, Apple is destroying Nokia's potential profits...

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    DenisV, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 6:16pm

    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.

     

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

  4.  
    icon
    JackSombra (profile), Dec 29th, 2009 @ 6:23pm

    "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"

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 6:47pm

    Re: It's not that simple

    Meaning that ipods and imacs will no no longer be importable in the US? Just clarifying.

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Dec 29th, 2009 @ 6:49pm

    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.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    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.

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 6:53pm

    Re: It's not that simple

    Meaning that ipods and imacs will no no longer be importable in the US? Just clarifying.

     

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

  8.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 29th, 2009 @ 7:10pm

    Re: Is Apple A Serial Infringer?

    tl;dr

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    ScaredOfTheMan, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 7:17pm

    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.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 7:32pm

    Re: Is Apple A Serial Infringer?

    So, since Nokia is also being sued for infringing patents, perhaps they should start acquiring rights before use as well.

    Also, I hold a patent on moronic signatures. Pay up.

    I am speaking only on behalf of the list of 17 shill organizations below me (and a dead person).

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 8:31pm

    Re: It's not that simple

    Nokia sells lots of cheap phones but they don't have the near equivalent of an iPhone or android phone in the high end market in the US.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    bob, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 10:32pm

    They Should

    Apple should do the same thing to Nokia.
    Then have the final assembly in one of the border factories.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Azrael, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 12:03am

    Re: Re: It's not that simple

    Actually Nokia invented the smartphone. All that Apple has done was to make a crummy one and remove its keyboard.
    But since it was an iCrap and the moron fashionistas are plenty, it was a success.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Darren, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 2:54am

    Amusing take on the whole thing here

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Mr Big Content, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 3:40am

    Something’s Wrong

    This is the USian “International” Trade Commission, right? It’s supposed to be something that USian companies can use against foreign competition, right? So how come Nokia gets to use it against Apple?

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Salim Fadhley, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 5:21am

    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.

     

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

  17.  
    icon
    jsl4980 (profile), Dec 30th, 2009 @ 6:26am

    Great news for AT&T

    This is great for AT&T they're probably praying this injunction begins right about the time their exclusive contract ends. Plus the less iphones there are the better AT&T's network will look.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Vincent Clement, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 6:52am

    Re: Is Apple A Serial Infringer?

    Maybe the US should prohibit patents on software?

    Maybe the USPTO should stop issuing broad patents in the first place?

    Maybe Apple should seek an injunction against Nokia from the ITC?

    In the end who wins? Lawyers. Who loses? Consumers.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Freaky Friday, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Re: It's not that simple

    Actually Nokia invented the dumbass. All that Azrael has done is to become a bigger one and remove its reason.
    But since he is an iChode and the moron dumbassistas are plenty, he thought he had a point.

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It's not that simple

    LOL!

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 10:19am

    Re: Is Apple A Serial Infringer?

    We really couldn't give half a shit who you are affiliated with, but thanks for the spam.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Ballmer Suck Ass, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 10:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It's not that simple

    Well played Sir.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 11:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It's not that simple

    While I'm not entirely sure how well played this was, I am at least gratified that the user of the phrase "Well Played" at least had the mental capacity to understand the context under which the phrase is to be used and to correctly use it.

    Good on ya.

     

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


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