Nokia sues Apple for patent infringement

The Finnish tech company has accused Apple of copying 32 of its patented technologies, including design features such as user interfaces and displays.

Nokia Lumia 1020
Nokia Lumia 1020

Nokia has accused Apple of infringing more than 30 of its design patents, filing legal complaints against the tech giant both in Germany and the US.

Nokia has filed actions for 32 patents in total so far, accusing Apple of using its technology in “many” of its products – including the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac computer products, according to Nokia – without paying for it.

The patents include design elements and technologies such as displays, user interfaces, software, antennae, chipsets and video coding.

Licensing agreement

Nokia claims both companies signed a licensing agreement covering some of its patents in 2011, but says since then Apple has “declined subsequent offers made by Nokia to license other…patented inventions which are used by many of Apple’s products.”

The actions have been filed in courts in Munich, Dusseldorf and Mannheim in Germany, as well as the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in the US. Nokia says it also preparing to launch further legal action in other jurisdictions as well.

Nokia says it has a portfolio of tens of thousands of patents covering technologies used in smartphones, tablets and computers, after acquiring full ownership of Nokia Siemens Network in 2013, and French-American mobile network equipment rival, Alcatel-Lucent in 2016.

“Taking action to defend our rights”

Ilkka Rahnasto, head of patent business at Nokia, says: “Through our sustained investment in research and development, Nokia has created or contributed to many of the fundamental technologies used in today’s mobile devices, including Apple products.

“After several years of negotiations trying to reach agreement to cover Apple’s use of these patents, we are now taking action to defend our rights.”

Nokia’s phone and smartphone businesses were acquired by Microsoft in 2013, and its branding and licensing rights were subsequently bought by Finnish private firm HMD Global in May this year.

“Extort money”

According to Reuters, a spokesperson for Apple says: “We’ve always been willing to pay a fair price to secure the rights of patents covering technology in our products.

“Unfortunately, Nokia has refused to license their patents on a fair basis and is now using the tactics of a patent troll to attempt to extort money from Apple by applying a royalty rate to Apple’s own inventions they had nothing to do with.”

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