March 27, 2011

Apple Takes A Bite Out Of Nokia

A U.S. trade panel judge ruled in favor of Apple, Inc. on Friday that found that the company did not violate any of five Nokia patents.

Nokia asked the trade panel in its complaint to bar the importation of Apple devices that infringe Nokia patents, citing specifically the iPhone 3GS mobile phone and iPod Nano portable music player.

Judge James Gildea of the International Trade Commission (ITC) said in his initial determination that Apple did not violate the Nokia patents.  The complaint was filed in December 2009.

The next step for the ruling will be for the entire commission to either uphold or throw out Gildea's decision.  The target date for that decision is August 1, 2011.

The ITC said in a separate decision on Friday that it would review a judge's ruling that Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM) and Apple did not infringe on Eastman Kodak Co.'s patented technology.  

Nokia said on Friday that it was taking a wait-and-see attitude toward the ITC ruling with Apple.

"While Nokia does not agree with today's initial determination that there has been no violation, we'll wait to see the full details of the ruling before we decide on any next steps," said Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant.
The companies are both suing each other over patent issues in the U.S. and Europe.  The ITC is popular because it can bar the import of infringing devices.  Companion suits are filed in the U.S. district court to win financial damages.

"This gives the first strike to Apple in its case with Nokia but litigation will continue as ongoing patent suits reverberate around the mobile industry," Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight, said in a statement.

Apple and Google Android-based devices have taken a giant market share from Nokia, which still runs its old Symbian software.

Nokia's complaint was also directed at other iPhones, the iPod Touch and iPod Classic, the iMac, Mac Mini, Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air.


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