Nokia Takes Apple Patent Battle to the Feds


It’s a brand new year, and Finland’s Nokia is pulling no punches in its escalating patent battle with Apple: the company has just filed a complaint in federal court alleging that Apple products infringe on a myriad of “implementation patents” involving touchscreens, camera sensors, antennas, and more.

The filing marks Nokia’s third infringement filing against Apple: the first, back in October, was over GSM implemenation in the iPhone; Apple countersued on 13 patent claims of its own in early December. Then at the end of December, Nokia filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Internaional Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that “virtually all” portable Apple products infringed on Nokia patents, and calling for the ITC to ban import of all infringing devices. The new federal filing adds even more fuel to Nokia’s litigation war.

“Nokia has been the leading developer of many key technologies in small electronic devices” said Nokia’s general manager for patent licensing Paul Melin, in a statement. “This [ITC] is about protecting the results of such pioneering development.”

Some of Nokia’s specific infringement claims include the iPod click wheel and the iPhone/iPod touch’s virtual keyboard in which letters become larger during use. Nokia also claims that disabling the iPhone/iPod touch screen during a call so a user’s ear or face doesn’t press the touchscreen UI is a Nokia patented technology, and the company also claims the making phone numbers, Web sites, and email addresses clickable within email and text messages infringes on a Nokia patent. Other Nokia claims center around combining camera functions onto a single chip, mechanisms for reducing power usage in mobile devices, a means of integrating a mobile antenna around a speaker.

Apple has yet to respond publicly to Nokia’s complaints before the ITC or federal court. However, industry watchers expect the company will either retaliate in kind—unleashing a flurry of patent infringement claims against Nokia—or apply significant backroom pressure to the Finland company.

Of the (so far) three sets of complaints against Apple from Nokia, the issues put before the U.S. ITC are likely to be the first to see action: as a regulatory agency, the ITC doesn’t conduct trials, assemble juries, or have any obligation to engage in lengthy jurisprudence, so the ITC can intervene in markets relatively quickly. But given how long some of Nokia’s claims have been standing—for instance, the iPod click wheel goes back to the original iPod, and Nokia’s claimed patent covering it is over nine years old—one has to wonder how much urgency the ITC will attach to Nokia’s claims.

Product Review

Simple and reliable, Apple's AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds

Apple’s AirPods wireless headphones have dominated the market essentially since they hit stores in December 2016. Though not without some faults, they cracked the connectivity code to rank among the best fully wireless earbuds you can…

Wring the most out of iOS with the best commands for Siri

You may not know all the things you can say to Siri -- after all, Apple never released an official list of commands for its virtual assistant. Thankfully, we've compiled a list of the best Siri commands to help you out.

Apple patent suggests Apple Watch bands could have built-in fitness indicators

Apple may be exploring ways to make Apple Watch bands a little more useful. A new patent has been filed by Apple that suggests Apple Watch bands could eventually have indicators for things like fitness goals.
Movies & TV

Netflix confirms it won’t be a part of Apple’s new video-streaming service

Netflix has confirmed that subscribers to Apple's new video streaming service won't have the option to view Netflix content on it. Apple is set to unveil its new TV service next week.

Apple patents hint at improved Apple Store and unboxing experiences

It looks like Apple is working on ways to improve the Apple Store and product unboxing experiences. The company has been awarded a few patents, largely for tech that can be used in product packaging to ensure products stay charged.
Home Theater

Here’s how to watch Apple’s March 25 product reveal event live

It's almost here: Apple's much anticipated March 25 event, where it is widely expected to announce several streaming services, including on-demand and live TV with original programming. Here's how to watch it live.
Movies & TV

Apple’s next big event is set for March 25: Here’s what you can expect

Apple's next big event takes place on March 25 in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to make several announcements related to its services, including Apple TV, so follow our guide to get ready for the big event.

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

We're glad to see that USB-C is quickly becoming the norm. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone. We've got USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A.

5G's arrival is transforming tech. Here's everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.

This is the easiest way to save your iPhone data to your computer

Living in fear of losing your contacts, photos, messages, and notes on your iPhone? Fear no more -- in this guide, we'll break down exactly how to back up your iPhone to your computer using Apple's iTunes or to the cloud with iCloud.

Here are the best iPad Pro keyboard cases to pick up with your new tablet

The iPad Pro range can double as laptops, but they do need proper keyboards to fill in effectively. Thankfully, there are loads to choose from and we rounded up the best iPad Pro keyboard cases right here.
Movies & TV

Here are all the TV shows and movies we expect to see at Apple’s March 25 event

Apple has an ambitious slate of original programming it has been developing in recent years, so will the March 25 event finally reveal when — and where — we will be able to see some of these TV shows and movies?
Product Review

The new iPad Mini isn’t a beauty, but it performs like a beast

Apple’s new iPad Mini has beastly performance, fluid iOS 12 software, and good battery life. It also looks like it came straight out of 2015, because the design hasn’t been changed. Here's our review of Apple’s 7.9-inch tablet.

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

The latest iterations of MacOS offer a native Split View feature that can automatically divide screen space between two applications. Here's how to use Split View on a Mac, adjust it as needed, and how it can help out.