Nokia sues Apple over smartphone patents to celebrate the holidays

iPhones 7 in black and jet black.
iPhones 7 in black and jet black.

Nokia has announced that it has filed lawsuits against Apple in the United States and Germany over possible patent infringements. The company alleges that Apple has declined repeated offers to license patented technologies integral to the development of smartphones.

From Nokia:

"Through our sustained investment in research and development, Nokia has created or contributed to many of the fundamental technologies used in today's mobile devices, including Apple products. After several years of negotiations trying to reach agreement to cover Apple's use of these patents, we are now taking action to defend our rights."

In total, Nokia's complaints cover 32 patents in cases filed in Dusseldorf, Mannheim, and Munich in Germany, as well as the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The company says that it will file additional actions in other areas.

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

  • Oh how the mighty have fallen. Resorting to patent trolling.
  • The problem here is that Apple are refusing to pay for the technology that Nokia have created. Apple have, traditionally, paid Nokia a hefty sum every year since the first iPhone. Based on those historical data, Nokia are looking for a continued income of about 200 million dollars in total a year from Apple, from all their licensing agreement combined, which is not crucial for the company but beneficial, given that they are forecast to grow slowly in the short term in their bread-and-butter networks-side business which has stalled while operators wait for the 5G technologies to become available. That is, the CEO would be insane to let that much free profit slip away, no matter what Apple stock owners think of the matter.
  • Apple would not be in this situation had they invested more in baseline R&D in lieu of developing and patenting only end-user features. This was a strategy which Jobs consciously embarked on and which Cook has upheld with the board's blessing. That is, Apple concentrates on creating the end-user experience and licenses everything else from others. Apple believe, correctly or not, that by this means they end up spending less moeny than by participating in the development of the underlying technologies that enable modern wireless consumer products to function. Here we see the corollary of that strategy. And cutting through all the company BS that these law suits inexorably entail, Apple seem to all in all have been happy with how that strategy choice has financially accrued to them.
  • And apple has not? Sent from the iMore App
  • Patents should stay with the person or company who created them. Once that person or company is no longer around the patent becomes open for anyone to use. This would create progress instead of regress.
  • And how would that apply to this case? Although Nokia flogged their phone making biz to Microsoft, the entity that has all the patents, network tech etc has endured as a thriving business. Posted via the iMore App
  • It applies to patents in general. Just tired of patent gathering companies. All it does is slow progress and make lawyers even more wealthy.
  • Oh, please don't be shy, you can name one of the biggest. Accidentally it's... tadaa - Apple!
    ;) Sent from the iMore App
  • All tech companies license patents from each other, it's just business as usual. Sometimes, there are disagreements over the legalese with that and that's when we have lawsuits. Nokia may win or they may lose. It's a legal case and you nor I are lawyers so I wouldn't make any claims as to who is the biggest of anything. As with so many legal matters, the devil is in the details and for all we know (this article has no legal details) Nokia could be in the wrong here. Apple has about 6-7 times as much in the bank as Nokia is worth entirely and could buy them 6 times over. I hardly think they are just being dicks over the pennies that Nokia wants, it must be something legal and contractual they are arguing about. The judge will decide, and the decision doesn't mean anything about either company's morals in this case.
  • Historically Apple have been the slowest to sign licensing agreements with other companies, preferring to use said cash pile to finance sometimes legitimate but often egregious lawsuits to prevent having to give money to their competitors.
  • We could get progress if companies innovated instead of stole or borrowed. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Part of improving a product is finding a feature that's incredibly useful on another product and using it as well, if you can legally. It's just like how when 1 browser started including tabs, the rest of the browsers followed. Now all browsers have tabs, and the consumer greatly benefits from this, despite it being "stolen" in a way
  • It's not patent gathering, it's their patents and if your want to use them you need to pay the royalty fees associated with them, all technology companies do this, you sound like an Apple shill. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • If you can't beat them sue them :'( Sent from the iMore App
  • Apples strategy sine Android came. Sent from the iMore App
  • Thermonuclear Xmas.
  • I won't call Nokia a patent troll. They do, in fact, actually make things with their patents. However, when I see "U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas" - I can't help but wonder why, if the patents are really valid, they didn't choose NJ, where their US HQ is based? EDIT:
    Not saying if Apple is infringing that they shouldn't pay. More details needed, (and sure to come). For instance, is Nokia looking for more from Apple than they do from others?
  • Holiday spirit ? is that what we're calling this. What better way to celebrate on the festive season by suing someone.. Merry xmas.
  • If I would own patents, of course I would try to make money.
    Go Nokia, show who's the boss! Sent from the iMore App
  • It's not always primarily about money although that is always a factor undeniably. If you patent an idea, then you see someone else profiting off your idea, you'd be pretty annoyed
  • YES, YES, YES!! I hope the new Nokia will beat the iPhone 7 in every way (I fu*k!ng don't care about app opening speed so shut up).