The litigation, which involves 10 patents, was filed Thursday in the Federal District Court in Delaware. The patents at issue, Nokia said, involve GSM, UMTS (3G WCDMA), and wireless LAN standards.
"The basic principle in the mobile industry is that those companies who contribute in technology development to establish standards create intellectual property, which others then need to compensate for," said Ilkka Rahnasto, Nokia VP of legal and intellectual property, in a statement. "Apple is also expected to follow this principle. By refusing to agree [to] appropriate terms for Nokia's intellectual property, Apple is attempting to get a free ride on the back of Nokia's innovation." Apple did not immediately respond to reports about the Nokia complaint.
The litigation is just the latest in the mobile industry, which has been racked by scores of patent and intellectual property suits. Nokia itself was involved in long and bitter patent litigation with Qualcomm that was settled in July 2008 with Nokia agreeing to make payments to Qualcomm over a 15-year period. That agreement included licenses for GSM features, which appear to constitute a major piece of Nokia's complaint against Apple.
Nokia pioneered GSM, which has figured in AT&T's exclusive network deal with the iPhone in the United States. The AT&T network also utilizes UMTS, likewise cited in the Nokia litigation. AT&T was not named by Nokia in the litigation. The Nokia complaint appears to be aimed largely at handset intellectual property, although Nokia didn't completely spell out the charges in its Thursday press release.
Nokia noted that it has successfully entered into licensing agreements with about 40 companies that include the patents cited in the Apple litigation, adding that it maintains that all Apple iPhones shipped since the smartphone's debut infringe on Nokia patents that cover wireless data, speech coding, security, and encryption.
Last week Nokia reported its first quarterly loss in years, while Apple reported very favorable earnings and revenue. Nokia leads the world in handset shipments with a 38% market share while Apple, still relatively new to the mobile market, is gaining share at a rapid rate.
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