Nokia and Apple are at it again. Having already sued and countersued each other in the past 14 months, Nokia has now taken the battle outside the US by suing Apple in Germany, the Netherlands and right here in the UK.
Nokia is alleging that Apple has used 13 of its patents in its mobile devices without permission. The lawsuits are seeking retrospective royalties from Apple for the patents which Apple has used in it iPhone, iPad and iPod devices. “The Nokia inventions protected by these patents include several which enable compelling user experiences,” said Paul Melin, a Nokia vice president in charge of intellectual property.
The two most interesting patents mentioned in the latest lawsuit relate to a finger “wiping gesture” which is used to navigate your way around a touchscreen device and the technology that allows access to real-time services or applications such as the App Store. Melin claimed Nokia has filed patents on both these technologies more than a decade ago.
In October 2009, Nokia sued Apple in two District Courts in the US as well as filing a complaint with the US International Trade Commission. Apple then countersued Nokia in December 2009 claiming the Finnish manufacturer had misused 13 Apple technologies. The latest round of lawsuits have been filed in Europe because Nokia believe these courts will deal quicker and more favourably with Intellectual Property cases.
Considering there are more that 1,000 patents making up one of today’s smartphones, it should come as no surprise that the level of lawsuits is increasing. Among the cases we have already seen over the past 18 months include Elan suing Apple over its multi-touch technology; Apple suing HTC, Motorola and several other manufacturers running the Android OS; Motorola suing Microsoft and Microsoft suing TomTom regarding its GPS devices. It seems like a growing phenomenon and things are not likely to change any time soon.