Remember when Nokia sued Apple for infringement over essential wireless patents? Us neither, but Apple sure does -- in a counter-suit which says Nokia is copying the iPhone interface. Says Bruce Sewell, Apple SVP and General Counsel:

"Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours"

And in the complaint:

"Nokia has rapidly lost share in the market for high-end mobile phones. Nokia has admitted that, as a result of the iPhone launch, the market has changed suddenly and [Nokia was] not fast enough changing with it. In response, Nokia chose to copy the iPhone, especially its enormously popular and patented design and user interface."

They remind Nokia of their EVP, Anssi Vanjoki's statement about the iPhone in 2007:

"[If] there is something good in the world, we copy with pride"

To which Apple responds:

"True to this quote, Nokia has demonstrated its willingness to copy Apple's iPhone ideas as well as Apple's basic computing technologies, all while demanding Apple pay for access to Nokia's purported standards essential patent. Apple seeks redress for this behavior."

Whether or not this leads to a quick(er) settlement and cross-licensing deal on both sides, it's interesting to note the "mutually assured patent destruction" strategy we (and regarding Palm vs. Apple) have spoken about before seems to be holding true. If one sues, the other(s) sue back. Boom. Merry $&@#ing Christmas indeed.

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UPDATE 1: Engadget reveals:

Apple also says Nokia wanted to cross-license Apple's various iPhone device patents as part of any deal, which Apple clearly wasn't will to do.

UPDATE 2: Official Apple PR on the lawsuit.

UPDATE 3 & 4: Roughly Drafted explains in good detail a theory under which Nokia wouldn't license their pooled patents to Apple under "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms,” and instead wanted a cross-licensing deal with access to Apple's private (non-pooled) patents. Apple refused, Nokia sued, Apple sued back. (Thanks to JK in the comments).

[NokiaExperts and Apple Insider]

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