Apple Sues Nokia in Britain: Report

Apple has reportedly filed a suit against Nokia in Britain, extending legal accusations of patent infringements that have gone on between the two since October 2009.

Apple, furthering its legal wranglings with global handset leader Nokia, is extending its lawsuit in Britain, according to Reuters. Apple already has suits against Nokia in the United States and with the International Trade Commission (ITC)-and Nokia has likewise filed suits in the same courts against Apple.

"We are investigating the claims, which appear to be based on nine implementation patents already in suit between the two companies in the United States," Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant told Reuters in a Sept. 30 article.

The trading of lawsuits began Oct. 22, 2009, when Nokia accused Apple of infringing on 10 Nokia patents for GSM, WLAN and UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) standards. In a statement addressing the suit, Ilkka Rahnasto, vice president of Nokia's legal and intellectual property division, accused Apple of "attempting to get a free ride on the back of Nokia's innovation."

On Dec. 12, Apple filed its own suit against Nokia, claiming that Nokia infringes on 13 Apple patents, and with Apple's legal counsel mynah-birding back in a statement: "Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours."

Later that month Nokia filed another patent-infringement suit against Apple in a U.S. District Court in Delaware, and each later filed complaints against the other with the ITC, addressing the same patent issues. In January, the ITC agreed to investigate Nokia's complaint, and in February it agreed to look into Apple's-which addresses the nine patents referred to by Durrant.

A resolution to the back-and-forth isn't expected to come anytime soon. In March, Reuters reported on a court filing that showed Nokia and Apple to have requested a mid-2012 time frame for their respective lawsuits to be tried. Analysts see a slow game of cat-and-mouse being played out, and Ezra Gottheil, with Technology Business Research, has described the filings to eWEEK as "a form of negotiation" that's "nothing life or death to either company."

While Nokia leads the global handset market in units shipped, it's had a difficult time competing for high-end smartphone sales, particularly against the Apple iPhone and smartphones running Google's Android operating system. However, on Sept. 30 it began shipping its newest flagship smartphone, the N8. Among its notable features are a 3.5-inch high-definition touch screen, a 12-megapixel camera with HD video, and an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) port for connecting to an HDTV and other electronics.

The launch of the N8, which will eventually be followed by Nokia E7, C6 and C7 smartphones, was recently described by a key Nokia executive as marking a "shift into high gear, in Nokia's fight back [into] smartphone leadership."

Laurie Armstrong, Nokia's director of communications, told eWEEK that Apple's suit in the U.K. wasn't a surprising development, and that it seemed designed to "put pressure on the ongoing dialogue between both companies."

However, she continued, "It changes nothing in the fundamentals of the matter, which are rooted in Apple's refusal to respect Nokia's intellectual property and attempt to free ride on the back of Nokia's innovation. We are reviewing Apple's claims, which appear to be based on nine implementation patents already in suit between the two of us in the U.S. Though litigation is always a last resort for Nokia, we will continue to defend to the utmost."