Apple extends Nokia patent battle to the UK

The patent feud between Apple and Nokia has been quietly smoldering for the better part of a year, but Apple has decided to ratchet up the tension: Apple is launched legal action against Nokia in the United Kingdom, accusing the world’s largest handset maker of infringing on Apple’s mobile phone technology.

The dispute began back in October 2009 when Nokia sued Apple, claiming the company infringed on ten of its patents. Apple fired back in December, countersuing Nokia for violating 13 of its patents; Apple also asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to ban import of infringing devices in to the United States—whichmay have been less-than-threatening considering how little of Nokia’s business is still in the U.S. Nokia expanded the proceedings again in May, filing a fresh suit against Apple over technology included in the iPhone and iPad.

Each company is pointing the finger at the other for using its technology innovations without licensing or compensation. Nokia claims Apple refuses to respect Nokia’s intellectual property; Apple accuses Nokia of stealing Apple’s innovations. The war of words has been particularly bitter for companies that are known for keeping their public statements under control; in its initial suit against Nokia, Apple called out a now-infamous quote from a Nokia executive that said the company would “copy with price” anything in the world it found worthwhile. Of course, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is known for quoting Picasso: “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.”

Expanding the legal proceedings to the United Kingdom—and closer to Nokia’s European business—could be a move to pressure Nokia towards a settlement. However, in a statement, a Nokia spokesperson indicated the company was unfazed, and that Apple’s new action changed nothing about the nature of the dispute.

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