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Apple countersues Nokia on 13 patent claims

In a brief statement, Apple has acknowledge that it is countersuing Finland’s Nokia, claiming the company infringes on 13 Apple patents. The move follows about six weeks after Nokia sued Apple, claiming the iPhone along infringes on ten patents related to GSM, UMTS, and WLAN technologies.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

In a statement, Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell implied Nokia’s suit amounts to little more than sour grapes: “Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours.”

In its filing, Apple claims Nokia E71, Nokia 5310, and Nokia N900 all infringe on Apple patents, as well as Nokia’s Carbide.c++ Symbian development environment. Apple also specifically calls out a notorious 2007 quite from Nokia executive VP Ansii Vanjoki when asked about the similarity of Nokia’s GoPlay offerings to the Apple iPhone: “If there is something good in the world, we copy with pride.”

Apple is seeking an order barring Nokia from infringing on its technology and unspecified damages.

Nokia may be the world’s largest maker of mobile phones, but it’s had a tough time capturing mindshare in the burgeoning smartphone market, particularly in North America where it has lost serious ground to the likes of Research in Motion’s BlackBerry and, in particular, Apple’s iPhone, which have redefined the smartphone experience for businesses and consumers. Nokia, meanwhile, is embracing a dual platform smartphone strategy—it’s stalwart Symbian S60 operating system and the N900 running the Linux-based Maemo—and struggling to find ways to reach consumers. The company just announced it will be closing four of its flagship stores as it retools is direct-to-consumer experience. Nokia might be the world’s largest maker of mobile phones, but it just seems like the company can’t get any traction in the retail business anymore these days.

For the record, here’s the complete statement from Apple:

CUPERTINO, California—December 11, 2009—Responding to a lawsuit brought against the company by Nokia, Apple® today filed a countersuit claiming that Nokia is infringing 13 Apple patents.

“Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours,” said Bruce Sewell, Apple’s General Counsel and senior vice president.

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