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Industry Back on War Footing as Nokia Sues Apple for Infringing Patents

Industry Back on War Footing as Nokia Sues Apple for Infringing Patents
Striking back at Apple Inc.’s legal action targeting the one-time cellphone industry leader a day earlier, Nokia Corp said that it had filed a number of lawsuits against the iPhone maker for violating 32 technology patents.
Patents for displays, user interfaces, software, antennas, chipsets and video coding are covered in Nokia's lawsuits, filed in courts in Dusseldorf, Mannheim and Munich, Germany, and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
"Since agreeing a license covering some patents from the Nokia Technologies portfolio in 2011, Apple has declined subsequent offers made by Nokia to license other of its patented inventions which are used by many of Apple's products," Nokia said in a statement.
Accusing them of colluding with Nokia to extract and extort exorbitant revenues unfairly from Apple, Apple on Tuesday had taken legal action against Acacia Research Corp and Conversant Intellectual Property Management Inc.
"We’ve always been willing to pay a fair price to secure the rights of patents covering technology in our products," said Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock. "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."
While Nokia was not immediately available to comment on the Apple lawsuit, Acacia and Conversant did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
When Apple filed a series of patent infringement cases against Samsung Electronics around the world, with wins and losses on both sides, a revival of the "smartphone patent wars" that began five years ago appears to have been marked by the legal action by Nokia and Apple.
The Ottawa-based Conversant named Boris Teksler as its new chief executive and Apple's lawsuit against Acacia, Conversant and Nokia was filed only one day after that appointment.
Based in Newport Beach, California, Acacia is a publicly traded patent licensing firm. In September, $22 million was awarded by a Texas jury to one of its subsidiaries when it sued Apple for patent infringement.
A Silicon Valley jury had awarded one of its units a $7.3 million settlement in an infringement case against Apple involving two smartphone patents, Conversant, which claims to own thousands of patents, announced last week.
Nokia missed out on the transition to smartphones triggered by Apple's introduction of the iPhone in 2007 while it was once the world's dominant cellphone maker.
Leaving it with its telecom network equipment business and a bulging portfolio of mobile equipment patents, the Finnish company sold its handset business to Microsoft Corp two years ago.
Microsoft sold its Nokia-feature phone business to a new company called HMD Global this year.
HMD plans to introduce new Nokia smartphone models next year and continues to market low-cost Nokia phones. Nokia agreed to a 10-year licensing deal with HMD.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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