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Nokia Wins Patent Suit Against Apple

June 14, 2011

Nokia Corp. won a patent dispute against Apple Inc. on Tuesday.

The Finnish handset maker said the deal “will result in settlement of all patent litigation between the companies, including the withdrawal by Nokia and Apple of their respective complaints to the US International Trade Commission.”

The companies have been locked in a long-running legal battle over patent claims, with each side accusing the other of infringing on patents that cover features such as swiping gestures on touch screens and the built-in “app store” for downloading updated programs.

Market watchers said that the settlement is crucial for Nokia as it tries to stiffen up competition in the smartphone sector against Apple’s iPhone, Research In Motion’s Blackberry and Google’s Android devices.

“It’s an important case disclosure for Nokia,” analyst Mikko Ervasti at Evli Bank in Helsinki told the Associated Press. “Nokia can now move on and concentrate on developing its core business. But it will also receive its share on iPhone sales.”

The financial deals of the patent dispute were not disclosed.

“We are very pleased to have Apple join the growing number of Nokia licensees,” said Nokia CEO Stephen Elop. “This settlement demonstrates Nokia’s industry leading patent portfolio and enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market.”

The patent disputes between Apple and Nokia is one of many involving leading phone companies amid increasing competition in the fast-growing market for smartphones. 
 
Nokia filed its first patent claim against the U.S. company in 2009 after which Apple countered by launching its own infringement claims.

Nokia claimed Apple’s touch-screen iPhone used technology that was patented by the Finnish company 10 years before the iPhone launched.  Nokia demanded Apple pay royalties on the iPhones sold.

Evli’s Ervasti said both companies are likely to be happy to leave the dispute behind them.

“In this settlement, money will flow in Nokia’s direction,” Ervasti said. “That’s a very good thing for a troubled company. Royalties from patents will boost the company’s cash flow.”

Apple has accused the Finnish company of copying the iPhone in order to recapture its lost share of the high-end phone market.  Apple has fired back at Nokia with a countersuit.

Analysts said makers of Google Android phones were the next legal target for Nokia.

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