The Apple-Nokia patent battles could continue on for more than two years, according to a report published March 12.
Pointing to a court filing, Reuters reported that the companies are asking that a trial on their respective patent lawsuits be scheduled for mid-2012, putting the industry on notice that the legal struggle between the mobile handset giants could take some time to resolve.
If Nokia has its way, however, that time frame may be cut short. Reportedly, Nokia has also asked a U.S. District Court judge to throw out Apple’s antitrust claims, saying that the accusations are taking away attention from Apple’s infringements on Nokia patents, according to a Business Week report, citing court papers filed March 12.
Back-and-forth disputes between the manufacturers began in October, when Nokia filed a suit in a U.S. district court alleging that Apple’s iPhone infringes on 10 patents – a scenario that Reuters later reported could cost Apple up to $1 billion.
In a press statement following the filing, Nokia accused Apple of “trying to get a free ride on the back of Nokia’s innovation.”
Apple responded in kind that December, alleging that Nokia infringed on 13 Apple patents and announcing in a statement: “Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours.”
Additional allegations followed, and each manufacturer additionally filed claims with the International Trade Commission. In January, the ITC agreed to investigate Nokia’s complaint against Apple, which entailed an infringement of seven patents in the areas of user interface, camera, antenna and power-management technologies.
Likewise, in February, the ITC agreed to investigate Apple’s Jan. 15 filing against Nokia, which alleged that nine of its patents were being infringed on and requested that Nokia be made to stop selling the devices in the United States.
Analyst Ezra Gottheil, with Technology Business Research, has called the filings “a form of negotiation,” and says it’s difficult to know who’s really in the right.
“What they’re involved in here is nothing life or death to either company; it’s just a matter of how much one is going to pay the other for the rights to some technology,” Gottheil told eWEEK, at the time of Apple’s retaliatory filing.
Apple has since also sued the Google Nexus One maker, HTC, and Motorola filed a complaint against BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion, which the U.S. ITC has also agreed to investigate.