The patent infringement battle between Finland’s Nokia and Apple seems to be taking a dramatic turn, with Nokia now claiming to the U.S. International Trade Commission that “virtually all” Apple products—including iPhones, iPods, and Macintosh computers—violate Nokia patents.
The move may just be brinksmanship, and is the latest installment in a flurry of action between the two companies: first Nokia sued Apple, claiming the iPhone infringes on ten Nokia patents related to wireless communications technologies. A bit of a month later, Apple sued Nokia claiming several Nokia products infringe on some 13 Apple patents, many of which relate to Apple’s now-iconic iPhone.
Nokia’s new filing claims that “virtually all” of Apple’s iPhones, iPod line, and computer systems violate seven Nokia patents related to user interface, cameras, antennas, and power management technologies. If Apple were to be found guilty of infringement, it could be forced to pay Nokia hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties, plus penalties. Of course, the same goes for Nokia: the Finnish company—which is still the world’s largest maker of mobile handsets—could be forced to pay Apple for infringement.
Nokia says it expects the ITC will decide whether or not to pursue a case in about 30 days. Nokia is seeking damages and a ban on the sale of infringing Apple products.
Major patent disputes like these often take years to resolve, and are often settled out of court. Industry watchers see Nokia’s latest filing as a way to apply additional pressure on Apple in order to move the company towards a settlement or cross-licensing agreement.