Apple today won a battle in an ongoing legal war with Nokia over patents that touch on pretty much all of Apple's product line. Since 2009, Apple and Nokia have sued and countersued each other into oblivion. In one particular legal action from May 2010, Nokia filed suit against Apple with a complaint to the ITC (International Trade Commission) alleging that Apple's iPhone and iPad 3G infringe on 5 of Nokia's patents.
In a press release issued at the time, Nokia detailed the patents in dispute:
The patents in question relate to technologies for enhanced speech and data transmission, using positioning data in applications and innovations in antenna configurations that improve performance and save space, allowing smaller and more compact devices. These patented innovations are important to Nokia’s success as they allow improved product performance and design.
Now comes word via Reuters that an ITC Judge has ruled that the aforementioned Apple products do not infringe any of the 5 patents laid out by Nokia. Actions with the ITC can be particularly worrisome for defendants as the quasi-judicial Federal agency has the power to ban the import of "offending" devices into the US. That being the case, protracted ITC cases can often compel a party to settle or enter into a cross licensing agreement.
Nokia, naturally, wasn't thrilled with the outcome.
"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," Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant stated. It's important to note, though, that the ITC decision today was handed down by Judge James Gildea and that the rest of the ITC court must first agree with the decision before it becomes final. Either way, Apple must be thrilled with the ruling in its favor.
Again, this ruling for Apple is encouraging but Nokia is unabashedly going after the Cupertino-based company with their legal guns ablazing. In October 2009 Nokia sued Apple for patent infringement claiming that a number of Apple products used Nokia technology as it pertains to wireless connectivity and GSM networks. Never one to back down from a legal fight, Apple countersued and accused Nokia of infringing on 13 patents held by Apple.