July 3, 2012
Patent Wars – Now It’s The Nexus Tablet’s Turn
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Google made several headlines last week from their I/O Developers conference, announcing a whole line of Nexus devices, including an updated smartphone, a brand new tablet and “the world´s first social streaming player.”A few days later, a District Court Judge placed a temporary injunction on the Nexus smartphone, preventing any new customers from purchasing the 7-month old phone with Google´s brand new sugary OS. Now, The Inquirer is reporting Finnish phone maker Nokia is none too pleased with the Galaxy 7 Tablet, saying it infringes on some of their patents.
Though built by Asus, the Nexus 7 is Google´s first tablet to bear their very own Nexus brand. Stocked with a quad-core processor and Google´s new Jelly Bean Android operating system, the Nexus 7 starts at only $199, with a side of possible patent infringement.
According to Nokia, the Nexus 7 infringes on some patents which deal with the IEEE 802.11 WiFi standard. Nokia told the Inquirer neither Asus nor Google sought to license the technology.
"Nokia has more than 40 licensees, mainly for its standards essential patent portfolio, including most of the mobile device manufacturers. Neither Google nor Asus is licensed under our patent portfolio,” a Nokia spokesperson told the Inquirer.
"Companies who are not yet licensed under our standard essential patents should simply approach us and sign up for a license."
According to the FOSS patents blog, Nokia might not be the only one having their patents infringed upon by the new Google tablet.
As pointed out by Florian Mueller, Google and Google´s Android have been engaged in some serious court battles as of late with Apple, Microsoft and of course, Nokia.
Google and recent Google acquisition Motorola are still battling it out with Microsoft in ITC courts. If a Microsoft patent isn´t also licensed by Asus, then the Nexus 7 could also be required to pay royalties to the Redmond company as well.
Mr. Mueller also points out that Apple could pile on to their complaints against Android and the Nexus phone and Galaxy Tab and request a preliminary injunction against the Nexus 7 as well. Apple has already filed for a preliminary injunction against Samsung´s Galaxy S III smartphones as well.
Nokia is also currently fighting with HTC and ViewSonic for patent infringement in their respective Android devices. The patents in question, however, are essential to the IEEE 802.11 (WiFi, or WLAN) standard. Therefore, it´s likely Nokia will only ask Google to pay to license these patents, rather than seek an injunction against the Nexus 7 tablets.
“I don't know how much Nokia asks for, but since Nokia has so many licensees, there's every indication that its royalty demands are reasonably acceptable,” writes Mueller in the FOSS Patents blog.
As one of the first companies in mobile, Nokia carries a large patent folder, totaling more than 10,000 patent families. Until last year, they were the largest handset maker in the world. They were dethroned by none other than Samsung. Mueller points out that Nokia isn´t afraid to play hardball in court when it comes to their patents. In fact, they were able to persuade Apple to settle out of court in their legal battle last year. Apple agreed to pay a one-time fee to use their patents, as well as pay on-going royalties.