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Apple hits back at Nokia in patent war

14 декабря 2009

Apple filed a countersuit against Nokia on Friday, claiming that the Finnish company has pursued anti-competitive practices and infringed 13 of its patents.

The move escalates a bitter patent dispute between the two companies over smartphone technology, which prompted Nokia to sue Apple in October.

Apple in turn has accused the Finnish company of withholding permission to use Nokia’s contributions to wireless communications standards in order to win access to intellectual property used in the iPhone.

The countersuit in the Delaware federal court comes against the background of the dramatic turnabout in global mobile handset share and profitability.

Nokia has lost its majority share of the smartphone market and reported losses as Apple has powered ahead since introducing the iPhone in 2007.

The computer company now takes in more profit from the sector than any other manufacturer.

The arguments also underscore the rapid convergence of communicating and computing.

Nokia is one of the largest contributors of patented technology to a pool of intellectual property used in setting standards for second- and third-generation wireless standards, known as the GSM and UMTS networks.

Under procedures designed to allow innovation to reach consumers, it must then let other companies use that self-declared “essential” technology on “reasonable” terms.

As a recent entrant into the phone business, Apple has contributed far fewer patents into the pool, and therefore should be expected to pay out more to Nokia and other rivals that it is taking in, Nokia claims.

Nokia sued Apple last month after royalty talks broke down, saying that Apple would not agree to pay a reasonable amount.

Sanford Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi said Nokia might be looking for about $270m a year from Apple, or 2.6 per cent of its pre-tax profit.

However, Apple is now claiming that Nokia was seeking an unreasonable return by demanding a licence to unrelated Apple know-how, including touch-sensitive technology that is not part of the 2G or 3G standards.

“Nokia insisted on both exorbitant royalties and ‘grantbacks’ of licences to Apple’s patented technology not related to any standard,” the counter claim says.

It also accuses Nokia of infringing 13 Apple patents.

Nokia said Apple’s suit “changes nothing in the fundamentals of the case” that it has brought, which claims that Apple had infringed 10 Nokia patents in its iPhone.

Neither company has asked the court to block the others’ sales.

Источник: Financial Times

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