The patent battle between Samsung and Apple may routinely grab the most headlines, but it’s by no means the only one being fought, with everyone from Microsoft to Motorola and even Yahoo all wanting a slice of someone else’s pie.
Nokia has also added its voice to the cacophony, but instead of sending a team of lawyers in the direction of the court, it has suggested the objects of its attention get in touch to work something out.
The problem is the Nexus 7 tablet, launched last week at Google I/O, which Nokia claims uses some of its intellectual property, and according to a Nokia spokesperson talking to TheInquirer.net, neither Asus or Google has licensed the technology from them.
However, instead of letting bands of frenzied lawyers, all armed with legal pads full of carefully considered arguments loose on the alleged infringers, Nokia has asked the pair to get in touch and work something out in a civil manner.
The statement says “neither Google nor Asus is licensed under our patent portfolio,” adding that “companies who are not yet licensed under our standard essential patents should simply approach us and sign up for a license.”
Wi-Fi patents could be the problem
So what’s the problem with the Nexus 7? Fosspatents.com says the complaint is probably related to the IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi standard. Nokia is known to own patents related to this standard, and is already fighting it out with ViewSonic over them in Germany.
Nokia sued ViewSonic, HTC and Research in Motion in May over 45 different hardware and software technologies, it claimed had not been properly licensed. The outcome of these lawsuits has yet to be determined.
Nokia is believed to own a portfolio of at least 10,000 individual patents and earns around $650 million per year from royalties, but a strong result against a big company could increase this amount substantially, providing a cash injection Nokia would probably welcome. It’s possible too, as HTC famously pays Microsoft $5 for each Android phone it sells, and based on performance estimates for HTC in 2011, this would have been $225 million.
Nokia has previous form in intense courtroom battles against big-name opponents too, as it won a two-year legal fight with Apple in mid-2011, where it was agreed Nokia would receive a one-off payment and ongoing royalties, although the exact figures weren’t released.
Here’s hoping Nokia, Asus and Google manage to avoid the courtroom this time, in turn curbing the possibility of a potential halt in sales or price increase for the Nexus 7 should the complaint prove successful, and settle any disputes with a handshake and a signature. You never known, it could encourage others to do the same in the future.